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DOUG LEIER: Resident anglers get year-long fishing opportunity for a mere $16

There’s a cross-section of people I really connect with this time of year — those who participate in summer sports and those who fish.

While I am an avid sports fan, I don’t golf and haven’t played softball in nearly 20 years; but I connect with the people who participate in those activities because when they’re playing, they aren’t stealing my favorite fishing hole. Fact is, with more lakes and fishing waters than ever before in North Dakota, anglers won’t get any real sympathy for complaining about any congestion, real or perceived.

At this stage of life, I like to “do” and not watch, and we stress to our kids how life isn’t a spectator sport, actually to a point where they sometimes remind me of that if I mention I might like to watch a Twins game in the evening.

My favorite summer activity is casting bobbers and worms, which I still can do while listening to the Twins or some other ballgame on the radio. And I know I’m not alone, as I see many anglers shielding their head and eyes with their favorite team’s ball cap and asking for a score update.

My neighbors will attest that if I’m not fishing, I’m more than likely out in the yard working or visiting. As long as it’s outside, vote me in. I played some golf and softball way back, but as stages of life go, fishing wins and has for years.

Baseball games are set with a schedule, and fishing, especially in North Dakota, is so player friendly. It’s open 24/7/365. If your job has you working nights and you need to unwind after work before hitting the pillow, make a few casts day or night, weekday or weekend, and you’ll feel better.

It’s been years since I joined tens of thousands at an indoor domed stadium, but if I’m going to be elbow-to-elbow with a complete stranger for three hours, I’d rather be fishing. I’ll share the banks of the river with just about anyone, and if their company — or mine, for that matter — isn’t mutually enjoyed, I can easily find another spot to fish.

At a game, your options are a bit more limited. Along those same lines, we have boat fishing, dock fishing, shore fishing and pier fishing at rivers, lakes and reservoirs.

I’ve heard numerous people complain at times about a blowout or a sloppy game and have even wondered aloud myself, “Why did I pay to see this?”

But in terms of value for your dollar, there’s nothing in the same leagues as a $16 full-year fishing license in North Dakota. Ask yourself what you get for $16. Many games, for a one-, two- or three-hour event are at least a ten-spot for a single admittance. My fishing license is a season-long pass that is valid 24 hours a day for the year.

I’m sure others can argue many of my points, and I won’t take issue with a personal choice to fish, golf, or just sit back in a lawn chair or on a beach and watch the day go by ... as long as it’s outdoors.

How you enjoy it is up to you … just get out there.

Leier is a biologist for N.D. Game and Fish Department. Reach him at Read his blog at