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Fishing Growth Spurt

by Kurt Hoehne

Fishing is on the upswing, both in our region and around the country. Maybe it’s our waterways getting cleaner, maybe it’s a return to basic family activities, but for whatever reason fishing is becoming more popular. The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation has had a significant impact with its www.takemefishing.org website which gives potential fishing men and women all the tools to get started. Here is a report from the RBFF on the stats from last year. The original post is here. –KH

Women and youth lead new fishing participants
Women and youth lead new fishing participants

ALEXANDRIA, VA (August 15, 2013) –Showing a resurgence in one of America’s favorite pastimes, the number of Americans who went fishing was up in 2012, with more than 47 million people participating. Adding to the 42.5 million who are current or occasional anglers, more than 4.5 million first-timers tried fishing in 2012, a significant increase from 2011 and the highest number of new participants ever recorded. The 2013 Special Report on Fishing and Boating just released by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) andThe Outdoor Foundation also shows significant increases in fishing participation among women and children.

”We’re extremely pleased to see the number of first-time anglers and participation overall continue to trend upward,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “Working closely with our industry and state agency partners, our collective effort is yielding well deserved results. Increased participation, in both fishing and boating, leads to increased license sales, and boat registrations, key sources for funding state fish and wildlife conservation.”

“Fishing and boating are among the most important ‘gateway’ activities that often lead people, especially youth, to pursue other recreation experiences,” said Christine Fanning, Executive Director of the Outdoor Foundation. “We’re thrilled to partner, once again, with the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation on this important research project.”

The fifth annual report details fishing participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and geography.


Fishing Participation

  • In 2012, 47 million Americans went fishing (an increase from 46.2 million in 2011).
  • While 9.4 million people stopped fishing, 10.2 million new or returning anglers participated in the sport, netting a gain of more than 870,000.
  • Americans made one billion fishing outings in 2012, averaging 21.3 fishing days per person.
  • Forty-one percent of first-time fishing participants were female, bringing the total of female anglers to 34.4 percent.
  • Adults 18 and older with children in their households participate in fishing at higher levels than adults without children.
  • Fly fishing has the highest rate of first-time participants with 20.5 percent first-time fly fishing participants in 2012.

Hispanic American Fishing Participation

  • 2.8 million Hispanic Americans went fishing in 2012 – a slight decrease from 3.1 million in 2011.
  • Freshwater fishing is the most popular type of fishing among Hispanic Americans.
  • Hispanic Americans fish the most often of all demographics, averaging 21.6 fishing days per year.

Youth Fishing Participation

  • Fishing participation for children peaks between the ages of six and 12, then decreases during the adolescent years of 13 to 17.
  • 81.8 percent of youth anglers ages six to 12 are introduced to outdoor activities by their parents.
  • Participation declines among females ages 13 to 17 more sharply than among males of the same age.
  • More than 45 percent of youth fishing participants ages six to 17 also participated in boating.

The full study is available online at TakeMeFishing.org/Corporate.

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