A Snapshot of Fishing in America
Fishing is one of America's favorite outdoor pastimes, enjoyed by young and old alike. Fishing was the fourth most popular outdoor activity in 2015 by participation rate and by frequency of participation for youth and young adults, ages 6 to 24, according to the Outdoor Foundation's Research Participation Topline 2016 report. Eighteen percent of that demographic – 14.8 million people – participated in either freshwater, saltwater or fly fishing. Thirty-three percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 fished in 2015, with a nearly equal participant split between males (51%) and females (49%).
The Topline report found that fishing was the second most popular outdoor activity for adults (ages 25 and up), with 30.9 million participants, or 14.6 percent of all adults in the U.S.
There were 27.95 million paid fishing license holders in the United States in 2013, according to Statista's 2015 report Recreational Fishing in the U.S. The gross cost of licenses in 2013 was $637.65 million, which was the second-highest yearly total going back to 2000.
Americans spent $9.7 billion on fishing equipment in 2013, based on Statista's data; while In 2015, American anglers spent $1.59 billion on fishing tackle alone – representing the highest expenditure on tackle since 2011. Statista found the average retail price of rod-and-reel fishing combos rose from $45.41 in 2007 to $53.8 in 2014, while the average retail price of fishing reels was $60.44 in 2014.
Most anglers go fishing at least four times or more every year. In 2014, 26.9% of fishing participants in the United States took one to three fishing trips throughout the year, 36.2% made four to 11 annual outings, 15.2% went fishing 12 to 23 times, 14.1% made 24 to 51 annual trips, 5% went fishing 52 to 103 times, while 2.7% of American anglers took 104 or more fishing outings.
The Outdoor Foundation's Special Report on Fishing 2015 discovered almost half of fishing participants surveyed either fished from the shoreline (49.9%) or from a boat (48.3%). Forty-three percent of anglers fished from a river bank, 26.3% fished from a pier or jetty, while 3.9% fished from a kayak.
Male and female anglers surveyed in the Special Report about the positive attributes of fishing chose the five reasons in the infographic below most often. Note how males place the greatest priority on catching fish while females are more focused on spending time outdoors with family and friends.
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