The Outdoor Foundation USA has some business advice for the outdoor industry: follow the fish. A new report produced by The Outdoor Foundation in partnership with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation reveals that anglers represent a deep pool of potential outdoor enthusiasts and customers.

The report features an expansive overview of all fishing enthusiasts, presenting detailed information on participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and geographic region. In addition, the publication includes special sections on the youth and Hispanic markets, which have become the two most important segments to understand and engage.

"Boating and fishing enthusiasts are among the most important and influential members of the outdoor community. Therefore, it is critical that we learn more about their preferences and motivations," said Christine Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation. "This Special Report should be required reading for anyone who wants to inspire a greater appreciation for and participation in the outdoors."

Key Findings

Fishing

* In 2008, fishing participants made one billion annual outings.
* Fishing is the most popular gateway activity that often leads to participation in other outdoor activities (77.9% of fishing participants participate in multiple outdoor activities).
* Freshwater fishing is most popular among young people, with almost 25% under the age of 18 (24.6%).
* The median age bracket of saltwater fishing participants is 35-44.
* Fly fishing has significant growth opportunities across a number of demographics, particularly females (20.2% of participants), minority groups (20% of participants), and youth (12.4% of participants).

Youth Participation

* Nearly half of all youth ages 13 to 17 are influenced by their friends to participate in outdoor activities (46.9%).
* Female participation in fishing falls significantly more than males through adolescence, down 29.6% as opposed to 11.7%.
* Youth participants ages six to 12 are driven by a desire for fun (78.6%) and an interest in exploring the natural world (50.9%).

Hispanic Participation


* In 2008, Hispanic fishing participants made more than 45.8 million annual outings.
* Hispanic youth ages six to 12 have the highest participation rate among all age groups (19.5%) followed by youth ages 13-17 (16.4%).
* The most common participation barrier cited among Hispanics is lack of time (53.3%) followed by a perceived lack of access to fishing areas (17%).

"We know that there are strong ties between boating and fishing and it is critical to understand this relationship to grow participation in our beloved outdoor sports," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "The research finds that anglers who don't currently own a boat represent a great potential for boat sales. This Special Report will be valuable in shaping future programs and stakeholders can use it to their advantage by focusing on the analysis that's most important to their organization."

The Report on Recreational Fishing is the just the first sport-specific publication released by The Outdoor Foundation. The organization is working on a similar publications focused on camping and will soon offer special reports on many outdoor activities � from biking to hiking, paddling to trail running, backpacking to climbing.