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James Drake

There is good news for the outdoors crowd. Our numbers are increasing.

Two of the following three sentences are true:

1. Since 2006, the number of fishermen throughout America has increased significantly.

2. If fishing were a company, the amount spent by anglers to support fishing related retail sales would rank number 41 on the Fortune 500 list.

3. The economic activity generated by sportfishing is greater than the economy — measured in Gross State Product — of 17 states.

A new fishing report produced by the American Sportfishing Association concludes that fishing, as an industry, generates an economic impact of $115 billion and supports 828,000 jobs generating $35 billion in wages and $15 billion in federal and state taxes through the spending of nearly 60 million anglers.

That would make statements one and three above correct. Number two is a bit of an exaggeration.

Number 41 on the Fortune 500 list is actually PepsiCo and those beverage sales are a good bit more than all the hook and bobber retailing going on. But it’s not really all that much more. Fishing would rank 51 on the Fortune 500 list today, just edging out Intel.

The figures for all this were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau through their National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation.

This study is done every five years and angler growth has increased a very significant 11 percent from the last Census Bureau survey. Fishing tackle sales grew even more at 16 percent and you can bet these dollars have a most significant impact on the American economy.

You could also easily argue that America’s fishermen and women are the nation’s most powerful force for conserving our fisheries and waters. That’s because we invest more than $1 billion each year in fisheries management and conservation through taxes on fishing equipment and state fishing license sales.

These past five years have not been the best for the American economy as a whole, so it really is noteworthy to see an increase in the dollars spent on sportfishing by Americans anglers.

The following three statements are all true: One of every four anglers fishes in saltwater, more Americans fish than play golf (21 million) and tennis (13 million) combined and fishing generated $48 billion in revenue, which was more than Intel ($44 billion), Chrysler ($42 billion) and Google ($38 billion).

This growth in fishermen, fisherwomen and fisherchildren numbers is a direct result of an overall growing interest in the outdoors and is expected to continue through 2013 and beyond.

Largemouth bass virus on rise

In a recent press release from Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service, the frequency of largemouth bass found to be infected with largemouth bass virus also appears to be growing.

Six of 10 adult fish taken from the Pocomoke River tested positive. Twenty-four of 30 bass tested positive from St. Mary’s Lake and five of 27 bass tested positive from Wheatley Lake at Gilbert Run.

LMBV poses no risk to humans, but it has been linked to fish kills, though not in great numbers.

Virginia has reported two recently, at Kerr Reservoir and Briery Lake, but nationally the incidence of fish deaths caused by LMBV have been fairly rare. Maryland reported zero substantial fish kills linked to LBMV.

Both largemouth and smallmouth bass have tested positive for LMBV in the Potomac River and more largemouths were found infected with LMBV in the Patuxent, Nanticoke and Choptank rivers and Triadelphia Reservoir. Pennsylvania fisheries biologists have also found infected bass in the Susquehanna River.

Two-pound and larger bass seem to be most susceptible to dying from LMBV, and that’s especially so when they’re stressed, but many fish show no symptoms at all and still test positive.

This virus has been discovered as far west as Texas and about 20 states in all now have bass populations that have tested positive.

Scientists think it affects the swim bladder of fish, but we really don’t know all that much about it. LMBV was first identified in the mid-1990s, but we still don’t understand if it is a relatively new disease or has been around a long time.

We do know you should never transfer fish from one body of water to another and you should spray or wipe all your boat surfaces, including inside livewells with a chlorine solution and then rinse well with clean water after each trip.

Lefty Kreh honored

Lefty Kreh, a Maryland resident, is recognized throughout the world as one of the true legends of fly fishing.

For years Kreh was the outdoors writer for The Baltimore Sun and I had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions.

It was always a treat and that was especially so if he happened to have a fly rod in his hands. The man was a phenomenal talent and didn’t just cast to that likely looking rock way over there, he could cast behind it. No matter the target, time and time again, Kreh never missed.

Tiefest, a popular fishing show sponsored by the Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland, will now be known as Lefty Kreh’s Tiefest.

The 2013 edition of Lefty Kreh’s Tiefest will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 9 at Prospect Bay Country Club in Grasonville.

Some of the country’s most respected fly tiers will be there to demonstrate patterns effective in the mid-Atlantic region and answer questions for the hundreds of attendees expected.

”Tiefest has always been one of my favorite fishing shows since it has a history of helping all levels of fly anglers with a special emphasis on young people,” Kreh said. “It’s a true honor to have Tiefest named after me.”

Besides all the nationally acclaimed fly tiers expected, this show will have a number of Chesapeake Bay guides, local tackle shops, rod makers and other organizations associated with fly fishing.

Casting instruction will be available for children 16 years and younger from 11 a.m. to noon.

Lefty Kreh’s Tiefest is free to CCA members and children 16 and younger. The cost is $10 for others, but non-CCA members may join CCA at the event for $25 and get in free.

Outdoor show in Frederick

The Great American Hunting and Outdoor Show will be held at the E-Ventplex inside the Frederick Fairgrounds from 1 to 7 p.m. Jan. 25, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 26 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 27.

Outdoor seminars will be presented all three days from Michael Waddell of the Outdoor Channel, nationally known and respected retriever trainer/champion Pat Nolan and local/regional fishing guide and book author Ken Penrod.

In addition to many information booths and several vendors, the NRA Great American Whitetail Collection will be on display.

The cost is $10 for general admission, but NRA members get in for free as do children 9 and younger.