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Vogt's Notes: Kudos to kids who fish, shoot trap

I may be a fairweather Minnesota fisherwoman, but count me in as one of the 1.4 million licensed anglers in the state.

I'm no diehard angler by any means. I don't mind getting up at the crack of dawn, but not to go fishing. If it's pouring rain, windy or cold, I'd rather stay home.

But if the sun is shining, wind is calm and temperature is pleasant, I'm happy to go out on the boat for a few hours to cast a line.

Earlier this month, I did get up at the crack of dawn to head to Moonlite Bay in Crosslake to see 100 boats parade out of the bay as part of a high school fishing team tournament. It was cold. It was windy. And it was totally awesome to see so many youth take to the water to fish. It was even greater to see them return that afternoon to weigh in so many pounds of bass.

My stepson was part of the entourage of boats as he's helping launch a high school fishing team in Owatonna. He was captain of a boat with his soon-to-be stepson and soon-to-be nephew.

I'm all in favor of high school fishing leagues, as well as high school trap shooting teams. Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus both have such teams, and Crosslake Community School has a trap shooting team. What a great way to get youth interested in two lifetime sports. And we're talking both boys and girls. I saw many two-girl fishing teams weighing in fish, and I know the trap shooting teams include girls too.

Not everyone has the talent or interest to join the more widely known high school sports, like football, basketball, baseball or softball. Fishing and trap shooting offer other opportunities for students to get involved in a team sport.

In today's world of electronics, too many people spend too much of their time glued to a screen. It's nice to see kids spending a chunk of time outdoors instead pursuing lifetime passions.

I came across the following fishing facts from the Department of Natural Resources. They offer more good reasons to get more youth involved in fishing.

• There are about 1.4 million licensed anglers in Minnesota.

• Most resident anglers are from urban areas. However, a higher percentage of people living in rural Minnesota fish compared to the percentage of people living in urban areas who fish.*

• Males account for 65 percent of fishing license holders. Females account for 35 percent.

• Minnesota has 11,842 lakes, 4,500 of which are considered fishing lakes. There are over 18,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams, including 3,800 miles of trout streams.

• Although not every kind of fish lives everywhere, 162 species of fish can be found in Minnesota waters.

• Fishing contributes $2.4 billion to the state's economy in direct retail sales, ranking Minnesota third in the nation for angler expenditures.*

• Fishing supports nearly 35,500 Minnesota jobs.**

• Minnesota ranks second in resident fishing participation at 32 percent, second only to Alaska.*

• Significantly more time is spent fishing on lakes than on rivers and streams.*

• The average Minnesota angler spends 15 days fishing each year.*

• Walleye are the most sought-after fish in Minnesota, followed by northern pike and muskie combined, then panfish, bass, crappie and trout.*

Sources the DNR cited:

* 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, (U.S. and Minnesota reports) U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

** Sportfishing in America, January 2013, produced by Southwick and Associates.

If you're a high school student who likes to fish or shoot trap, be sure to check out your school's teams.

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