Jeremy Alford

Louisiana reeling in old anglers

by Jeremy Alford

In an effort to lure former Louisiana anglers back into the ranks of recreational fishing license holders, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has launched an aggressive direct mail campaign. The department is targeting approximately 70,000 lapsed anglers across the state.

By definition, lapsed anglers are those who have purchased a fishing license in previous years but do not currently hold one. Nationwide figures established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service show that only 15 percent of anglers renew their license every year for a five-year period. The latest survey on Louisiana angler retention conducted in 2004 revealed that 43 percent of anglers bought a recreational fishing license only once out of a three-year test period.

For the 2006-07-license year, LDWF sold 428,003 resident basic fishing licenses, which follows a continual decline from the 592,942 basic fishing licenses sold during the 1995-96 license year. "Our state has countless fishing opportunities ranging from freshwater to saltwater, and it is our agency's duty to stay connected to the angler," says Ashley Wethey, LDWF public relations and marketing coordinator. "We see this new program as a way of connecting to the lapsed angler, increasing license sales and inviting new anglers to the sport of fishing."

The direct mail marketing program will employ an oversized postcard with a message encouraging anglers to purchase a fishing license. As a motivational incentive, LDWF will offer a free "I'd Rather Be Fishing in Louisiana" bumper sticker to those individuals who respond before July 1. Those who do not respond to the initial mailing will be sent a follow-up postcard in mid-July.