(AP) - Fishing generates about $1 billion for the economy of the Driftless Area, which includes parts of southeastern Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin, according to a report released Monday.
Researchers with Madison-based NorthStar Economics Inc., surveyed trout stamp holders in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa about their fishing and spending habits in the Driftless Area for Trout Unlimited.
They found more than 125,000 anglers visit the region annually, pumping about $650 million directly into the local economy. That spending leads to about $465 million in indirect benefits as the money keeps circulating, the report said.
Men and women of all ages, income and education levels fish in the area, the study found, but most are men with college, graduate or technical degrees from households that earn $60,000 to $80,000 annually.
Anglers reported spending an average of $4,000 per year in the Driftless Area, largely by staying in local hotels and eating in local restaurants.
The Driftless Area is a region that includes parts of northwestern Illinois, northeastern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, and southwestern Wisconsin.
Glaciers that leveled much of the four states' landscape flowed around the Driftless Area and left the region's distinctive coulees and bluffs untouched.
Trout Unlimited is a coldwater fisheries conservation organization. It has more than 150,000 members nationwide, including more than 9,000 members in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)