Some senior citizens and some more legislators do not like the idea,
but the bill which would establish an inexpensive fishing license for those
older than 65 is back in the legislature.
It is House Bill (HB) 1048 and it is authored by Rep. John Ulmer of
Goshen. The bill has been referred to the House Agriculture, Natural Resources
and Rural Affairs Committee chaired by Rep. Bob Bischoff of Lawrenceburg.
Although HB 1048 sports the same basic concept as last year’s unsuccessful
measure, this year’s bill differs in several ways. It probably will differ
in even more ways should it clear Rep. Bischoff’s committee.
Last year’s bill--also authored by Rep. Ulmer--was amended several times
on the floor of the House and finally died when it was amended to make
its provisions voluntary.
The bill is favored by many conservationists--even old geezers like
your reporter--because the law which allows senior citizens to fish without
a license is costing the Division of Fish and Wildlife more than $1 million
per year in funding it never gets.
In this day of taut budget strings, that extra million, or so, could
be used to make the fishing better for all Hoosiers, not just senior citizens.
The current bill provides for the establishment of a senior citizens
fishing license which would sell for $2.75. A senior citizen in Illinois
pays $6.75 for the right to fish for a year; in Kentucky the tab is $5
and in Michigan it is $3. Seniors fish free in Ohio.
Legislative Services sleuths figure a senior citizen license would bring
about the sale of 113,097 licenses each year. If the DFW received an extra
$721 in federal funding for each license sold, the fish and wildlife agency
would reap a windfall of more than $1.1 million per year, they figure.
The federal funding upon which the DFW depends heavily is derived from
federal excise taxes on the sale of fishing and hunting paraphernalia and
is redistributed to state fish and wildlife agencies in accordance to the
number of hunting/fishing licenses sold.
Last year at this time, the DFW would have received $5.81 for each senior
citizen fishing license sold. This year it is $7.21.
HB 1048 is not expected to have an easy row to hoe in getting past the
House Ag and Natural Resources. However, top backers of the bill believe
some of its sour taste might be removed by including a small game hunting
license for the same fee ($2.75) which now costs seniors $14.25. Trout
and salmon fishing stamps still would be free under terms of HB 1048.
SPEAKING OF FISHING
Dave Welshwomen, supervisor of the DFW’s Curtis Creek Trout Rearing
Station for “lo these many years” . . . like 20 years, tells me the fish
and wildlife agency has some 23,000 rainbow trout ready to be stocked in
lakes of the state about the third week in March.
“They’re about 10 inches long now and will run 10 1/2 (ten and a half)
inches by the time we stock them,” Dave says.
We will give you the full list of lakes to be stocked later, but for
now let’s note that southern and central lakes to be stocked will be Island
Pit and Airline Pit, both in the Linton-Sullivan area, and Little George
Pit in Clay County.
Anglers trying their luck for this fishing will need the state trout/salmon
stamp (now $9.25) in addition to the state fishing license (now $14.25).
The trout stocked in lakes like silvery-finish spoons that wobble (small
spoons work very well), but anything from worms to bee moth larva will