Posted on November 15 2007
Although some details of the latest version of the US Fish & Wildlife Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation were made available in July, the complete report — which includes details on the number of anglers and their activities, their expenditures and demographic data — was just released last week.
Among the more interesting information in the report, which is likely the least-biased measures of fly fishing participation in the U.S.:
— 3,012,000 anglers over the age of 16 fly fished in 2006, participating for an average of about 10 days per person
— “Although the number of all anglers declined 12%, their expenditures for fishing equipment (rods, reels, etc.) and fishing trips increased 5% and 7%, respectively. There were drops in expenditures for auxiliary equipment (special clothing, tents, etc.) and special equipment (big ticket items such as boats) by -14% and -12%, respectively.” (Quoted from the USFWS Web site.)
— 67 percent of all anglers (including non-fly-fishers) engaged in some form of catch-and-release fishing, while 20% always released their fish
— Anglers spent $5.3 billion on “fishing equipment, such as rods, reels, tackle boxes, depth finders, and artificial
lures and flies” and $1 million on magazines and books (compare this to the $4.6 billion spent on land leasing and ownership related to fishing activities)
— Saltwater fishing accounted for a little less than one-third of the total participation and related expenditures that freshwater fishing did
Lest you think 3 million fly fishers is an enormous number, the report also indicates that 1.7 anglers participated in ice fishing. On the other hand, fly fishers make up 10% of all U.S. fishermen (3 million of just under 30 million total anglers).
If you’d like to download the entire report, you can find the 4.2MB, 174-page document here.