UW researchers to look at economic impact of the sport fishery industry in the Bay of Green Bay

Green Bay - In order to show the value of  Wisconsin's natural resources and improve the management of the Bay of Green Bay sport fishery, a new study will attempt to show what fishing does economically  for the communities that line both sides of the bay.

A similar study was conducted in 2006 for the area surrounding Lake Winnebago and that study found that sport fishery contributed $435 million per year while employing 4,500 people.

Some of that economic impact is pretty obvious from charter fisherman who make a living taking people fishing, to the tournaments that come and go all year long, to places like Smokey's on the Bay who sells custom lures for anglers.

"We have people who come from all over the country to fish here," said Jay Zahn. " From walleye to musky, pan fish, perch we are hearing guys catching blue gills it is a great place to fish, and a great place to get that trophy fish."

The survey is being conducted by Matthew Winden from UW-Whitewater and John Stoll of UWGB and will start in March with survey, the two are partnering with the Wisconsin DNR and Walleyes for Tomorrow who committed $15,000 of the estimated $20,000 cost.

"We are trying to put a dollar value on the sport fishing industry in the Bay of Green Bay," said Winden. "The economic impact extends to gas, lodging, restaurants and equipment."

The survey will questions like what motivates someone to go fishing, where do they go, how often, what do they fish for, do they travel or stay close to home.

Local 5 found Nick Grigg and his friend out on the ice of the bay pulling in four whitefish in about an hour, they are local anglers who have regular success.

"I've just been doing it since I was a kid," said Grigg. "I don't travel because I live ten minutes away and if I spend two hours here, I usually end up with four fish."

For Jay Zahn of Smokey's on the Bay he sees fisherman travel to the waters and ice of the Bay of Green Bay all year long.

"Walleye fishing we got guys coming here from Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota obviously for the tournaments, but guys come up for a weekend for musky fishing," said Zahn. "We see people come here from all over the country."

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