Two new reports show positive trends for fishing participation; Preliminary Special Report data reveals increases in Hispanic, youth and female participation.

ALEXANDRIA, VA (May 8, 2017) – The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) today announced that fishing participation has increased. The increase is being reported by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Outdoor Foundation.

The latest fishing license sales data from the USFWS shows a 1.79% increase in license sales. This increase was enough to bring the 10-year change in fishing license sales to 4.26%. Even more encouraging is that it marks the third consecutive year of increases in fishing license sales after a long period of stagnant sales.

Additionally, the Outdoor Foundation has released its 2017 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report, which includes plenty of positive news for the sport of fishing:

Highlights –

  • Fishing is again the number two most popular adult outdoor activity, but is closing in on the number one activity, jogging

  • Saltwater fishing participation increased 4% over the past three years

  • Fly fishing increased 6% in 2016 and 9.8% over the past three years

  • Kayak fishing increased 4.6% in 2016 and 31.8% over the past three years

Youth participation –

  • 15.6 million, or 19.5% of youth (ages 6-24) participated in fishing

    • Up from 14.8 million participants in 2015

Adult participation –

  • 31.5 million adults (ages 25+) participated in fishing

    • 14.6% of the adult population

“We are very encouraged by the positive news coming from both the USFWS and the Outdoor Foundation,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “It’s great to see the sport of fishing getting the appreciation we all know it deserves, and with fishing being the number one activity done from a boat, this is news our entire industry should celebrate. These trends give us plenty of momentum as we continue on our path to 60 in 60.”

RBFF’s 2017 Special Report on Fishing, which will be released in full this July, includes additional information on fishing participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and geographic region. “We got a sneak peek at the data, which reveals even more positive news for fishing,” added Peterson. “We’re seeing increases in Hispanic participation, youth participation, and female participation, in addition to an overall increase in participation nationwide.”

Stakeholders can utilize RBFF’s research, marketing and event planning materials to recruit more new participants, retain existing customers, and reactivate lapsed participants, helping keep this positive trend going.

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 developed the award-winning Take Me Fishing™ and Vamos A Pescar™ campaigns to create awareness around boating, fishing and conservation, and educate people about the benefits of participation. Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar 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.

For further information: Stephanie Vatalaro,, 703-778-5156