New Study Reveals 1.5 Million More Americans Lured by Fishing

America has spoken, and they have one thing to say: “I’d rather be fishing.” With 1.5 million more participants than the previous year, fishing now has more than 47 million Americans hooked. That’s the key finding of the 2017 Special Report on Fishing, now available from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF).

There’s a reason fishing is the second most popular outdoor activity for adults in the nation,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “It’s a pursuit for people from all walks of life to enjoy—whether for getting exercise, being with family and friends, enjoying nature, escaping the usual demands of life, or experiencing excitement and adventure.”
Created in partnership with The Outdoor Foundation, the annual report provides one of the most comprehensive looks at the state of U.S. fishing and boating participation. Amassing data from more than 24,000 respondents, the results uncover a breadth of trends and insights.

RBFF Special Report On Fishing Infographic

Key findings from the 2017 report include:

  • Americans took 855 million total fishing trips, or 18.8 trips per participant, in 2016.
  • 2.5 million new participants tried fishing for the first time. New participants accounted for 5.3 percent of total participation, and they tended to be young and female.
  • 3.8 million Hispanics participated in fishing, an 11-percent increase. Hispanic anglers went on six more outings per year than the general market average.
  • 11 million youth participated in fishing, a 3-percent increase.
  • 83 percent of fishing trips resulted in a catch.

The insights from this report give me incredible optimism for America’s thriving outdoor tradition,” said Ivan Levin, deputy director of The Outdoor Foundation. “More than one in seven Americans participate in fishing, an activity known for leading people to other outdoor pursuits. Ultimately, more people fishing means more outdoor stewards to care for our country’s natural resources.

The full report is available at the RBFF Resource Center.


About the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF)

RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources. RBFF’s recently announced 60-in-60 effort strives to attract 60 million anglers to the sport by the end of 2021. To help recruit, retain and reactivate participants, RBFF developed the award-winning Take Me Fishing™ and Vamos A Pescar™ campaigns creating awareness about boating, fishing and conservation, and educating people about the benefits of participation. These campaigns help boaters and anglers of all ages and experience levels learn, plan and equip for a day on the water. The campaign websites, and, feature how-to videos, information on how to get a fishing license and boat registration, and an interactive state-by-state map that allows visitors to find local boating and fishing spots.

About The Outdoor Foundation

The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Through groundbreaking research, action-oriented outreach and education programs, the Foundation works with partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. In 2010, the Foundation launched Outdoor Nation, a pioneering initiative that aims to empower young leaders to champion the outdoors on campuses and in communities across the United States. For more information visit: and

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