Free senior fishing considered

Irene Long likes to fish, but at almost 92 years of age finds affording a license tough.

"We would like to have the license even lower (price) or even none at all so we can all go fishing because we have such a wonderful time on the lake," she told a Senate natural resources committee Monday.

Thanks to Long’s story, lawmakers are considering allowing Minnesotans 90 and older to fish without paying for a license.
"I wish a lot of grandmas could go," she said.

The angler, who lives on Mille Lacs Lake, showed committee members pictures of her with some of her prize catches, including a 28-inch walleye and a 54-inch muskie.

Ed Boggess of the Department of Natural Resources said the state has a long policy of opposing free licenses, but did not argue against the bill Monday. "Miss Long is a tough act to follow."
Boggess said 937 Minnesotans 90 and older bought fishing licenses last year. If the bill passes, he added, the state would lose $16,000 a year.

"This is a small reward for those who are 90-plus," Sen. Jim Vickerman, DFL-Tracy, said.

The committee will consider putting the bill in an overall game and fish measure.

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