Study Aims to Find Value of Green Bay's World-Class Fishery

GREEN BAY, Wisc.- (WBAY) A new study aims to gauge the tremendous economic impact generated by the lure of fishing on the Bay of Green Bay and it's tributaries.

Count Derek Jones and his buddies as anglers who spend plenty of money pursuing walleye on the Fox River.

"To the sporting good shops, new baits, always new baits to buy, never enough, new boats, the restaurants for lunch after fishing," says Jones from Freedom.

According to license data, the Green Bay area is a destination for nearly 200,000 in-state and out-of-state anglers each year.

But as of now, how much they spend remains a mystery.

"We don't really have a baseline for what is the recreational activity worth," says UW-Green Bay Professor John Stoll, chairman of college's Public and Environmental Affairs Department.

Stoll is teaming up with the DNR to tackle a year long study on the bay's world class fishery, which includes walleye, bass, perch, musky, whitefish, trout and salmon.

"Get an idea of how much importance that has to people, how much they're spending in the area, how much impact it has for jobs within the area and the incomes it creates, both through what's spent directly and what sort of multiplies through the economy over time," says Stoll.

A study on Lake Winnebago ten years ago found an annual economic impact of more than $150 million.

DNR Fisheries Supervisor Mike Donofrio expects a much higher number in this study, and says the results will not only help secure future fisheries funding but serve as a benefit to communities around the bay.

"We have a question in there that asks about what do you think of amenities, are there enough hotels, restaurants, boat ramps, so that's all good for the communities as well," says Donofrio.

Over the next 12 months, DNR creel clerks will hand out 10,000 surveys to anglers at boat ramps and along the shore.

Fishermen like Jones feel the survey will be well received.

"It's a resource that we're very lucky to have here," says Jones.