Fishing Participation Up, Says RBFF Survey

According to the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and the Outdoor Foundation, angling is again on the upswing after some down years-good news for the fishing and boating industry.

Total fishing participation stood at 47 million people in 2012, marking the second consecutive year of growth after a dip to 45.4 million participants in 2010. License sales were up 3.27 percent in the U.S. Those 47 million people accounted for one billion outings, an average of 21.3 each, which is up from 18.2 average outings in 2011. Nearly two-thirds of fishing participants are male, but females now represent more than 46 percent of those interested in trying fishing. Of course, “interested” is not the same as being active participants, as many manufacturers have learned in the past, but if a way can be found to truly tap the female market, it would have a significant impact on the industry.

Fly fishing is one area luring in first-time fishing participants. Fly fishing participation grew in 2012 to 6 million anglers, and of those, 20.5 percent were first-timers. This is up from 14.4 percent in 2011, and it underscores the importance of future retention efforts to keep anglers active and engaged. Combining ICAST with the FFTA show this year seems likely to have a positive impact on both sides of the partnership. For details, visit