Please Help Support Michigan's Fishing Tourism & Local Economies!
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West Michigan is a fisherman's paradise, and with that being said it brings in a tremendous amount of tourism to our area, in ways some don't even realize. Not only does it increase license sales for our state, anglers also bring money in to local businesses of all kinds while they are here enjoying our pristine waters.
We have started this petition in hopes of getting local support in slightly altering an ordinance that took effect in July 2016. We would like to propose a season (October 1- the last Saturday in April) instead of a complete ban, as they have done with treble hooks on the Big Manistee river above M-55. We believe that a compromise can be reached that will help extend our tourism season into the winter months.
Since Fisheries Order 200.16A took effect last summer, there has been a notable decrease in the number of tourists and anglers coming to Michigan for fishing trips and charters, especially during the cold weather months. From November 2016 through March 2017, our local fishing based revenue was down a whopping 43 % due to anglers not coming to our area rivers and spending money in the local restaurants, sport shops, hotels, gas stations, etc. Tourism dollars are extremely important in these rural areas without much industry.
If Fisheries Order 200.16A is not amended, we anticipate this trend will persist for the winter of 2017-18 and beyond. Decreased numbers of anglers greatly impact not only the livelihood of individual shop owners, charter captains, guides and their families, but the local economy as a whole. Small towns such as Newaygo, Manistee, Wellston and Hesperia rely heavily on fishing tourism. When you look at it from an economic standpoint, the bottom line is fewer anglers coming to our area means less income for business owners and employees at hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, shops, gas stations and other local attractions. In addition, less anglers and tourists coming to Michigan also will result in decreased revenue for the State of Michigan from the sale of fishing licenses.
Getting anglers to come to our area and fish is increasingly challenging during the winter months due to the cold temperatures and unpredictability of weather conditions in Michigan. This new law seems only to compound the problem.
A major part of our focus is customer satisfaction and retention, as these are important components for successful business and tourism. As part of our customer service efforts, we request feedback from anglers and clients regarding their fishing experience. We get information from clients through follow-up phone calls and emails, as well as through our online feedback form. We have had several clients, including many repeat clients who have expressed disappointment in their trips since throwing salmon eggs was banned.
Chumming allows clients, many who have limited fishing experience including children, the thrill and excitement of being able to catch steelhead and trout even when conditions aren't enjoyable. Catching fish keeps them interested, and in turn reinforces and increases the likelihood that they will return to Michigan not only for future fishing trips but also for other recreational activities throughout the year.
Most of our local tourism are the result of “word of mouth” and if people are not able to catch fish, it is unlikely they will return or encourage friends or family to book trips. Many clients travel hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles from different states to experience our incredible steelhead and trout fishing but, are less likely to make the long trek to Michigan if they are not satisfied with their experience.
We care about fishing tourism in West Michigan and we don't want to see anglers leave our great state and spend their discretionary income somewhere else! Please help keep angling tourism in Michigan where it belongs! Thank you for your support!
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