Out of Town Anglers Face Decisions

By KBJR News 1

July 4, 2011 Updated Jul 4, 2011 at 7:22 PM CDT

ELY, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---If you call a Minnesota DNR phone line these days, you're likely to be directed to an automated voicemail message telling you to call back once the government reaches a compromise.

Many Fourth of July anglers were surprised to get that message over the big holiday weekend.

Those who didn't get the chance to purchase a fishing license before the government shut down are now facing a decision.

Should they fish illegally or forgo fishing to enjoy other recreational activities?

"We're not going to have the opportunity, and we are four and a half hours from the cities so, hopefully we will get back soon, but this is definitely a bit of a downer for the week of the fourth," Rich Doyle, an Edina resident vacationing at the Timber Trail Lodge in Ely resident said.

One Ely resort owner who has a lot of out of town visitors says he's having to deal with a lot of questions about whether the DNR is enforcing legal fishing requirements during the shutdown.

"Everyone just wants to know what they need to do to abide by the rules," Bill Forsberg, Owner of Timber Trail Lodge said. "They ask a lot of questions that we can't answer in terms of enforcement. I think overall, its just been a feeling of what can we do to make this as easy on them and on us as possible, so they've been pretty understanding."

Understanding for some...but the shutdown has left local business owners frustrated and down in sales on one of the biggest tourism weekends.

"We are down on our bait sales, we are down on our fishing license sales," Kathy Nelson, of Spirit of The Wilderness Canoe Outfitters in Ely said. "People who come in to buy licenses usually mill around in the shop. They might pick up a few more items maybe tackle, so we lost the benefit of those kind of sales."

Hunting, trapping, boating and ATV licenses will also not be available until after the government goes back to work.

Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch