Bozeman, Mont. – Jim Klug, Chairman of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) announced the association’s opposition to House Bill 309, in testimony before the Senate Agriculture Committee on March 8.
The legislation would upset a 2008 Montana Supreme Court decision that allowed public access to the state’s streams. “AFFTA would like to go on record as opposing House Bill 309,” said Klug. “We believe that if passed, this bill will not only harm Montana businesses, but will negatively impact the fly-fishing industry as a whole.”
According to a 2010 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study of trout fishing in the United States, nationally, trout anglers spent an estimated $1.06 billion in 2006 on food and lodging for fishing trips. In addition, anglers spent $32,362,000 and $18,654,000 on public and private land use fees respectively for fishing in 2006. Trout fishing related expenses generated $965,201,922 in federal tax revenues in 2006 and $807,005,252 in state and local tax revenues across the county.
As one of the premiere fishing destinations within the U.S., Montana is a huge beneficiary of these angler-generated revenues. “Anglers travel from all over the country and the world to fish Montana, and the resulting economic benefits to the State are substantial,” said Klug. “People come to Montana to fish and to spend their money because the state is known for its affordability, it’s ease of travel, and above all for the accessibility of its waters. No other state in the country can compare.”
According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2006 figures, anglers in Montana generated more than $315 million in retail sales, more than $24 million in state tax revenue and had more than a $478 million impact on the state’s economy.
“In the bigger picture, and from the perspective of the fly fishing industry as a whole, the multiplier effect of anglers traveling to and fishing Montana is substantial, impacting not only Montana guides, outfitters, retailers, and other businesses, but hundreds of other fishing-related businesses throughout the country, said Klug.”
AFFTA is the sole trade organization for the fly-fishing industry, working to promote the industry’s sustained growth. AFFTA represents more than 300 small businesses including, manufacturers, retailers, guides and media operating in more than 42 states.