2021 Fishing Report, Highest Overall Participation in 14 Years

Recreational fishing and boating continues to reach new and diverse audiences according to a new industry study from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF).

The 2021 Special Report on Fishing found that:

  • 19.7 million females went fishing in 2020, a 10% participation increase in comparison with 2019.
  • Youth and adolescent fishing skyrocketed last year, with 13.5 million youth ages 6 to 17 hitting the water.
  • 5 million Hispanic Americans went fishing in 2020, the highest recorded volume in 14 years.
  • Overall participation continues to increase, with nearly 55 million Americans fishing at least once last year.
  • African Americans have had the highest participation rate in the last three years, with a 7.4% increase in participation and 14.6% growth since 2019.
  • More than 55% of people who have tried fishing intend to continue the activity in 2021.

The new Special Report data comes following a year when Americans’ interest in fishing peaked as a remedy for COVID-19-related stress and anxiety. The pandemic also offered a unique opportunity for people interested in other outdoor activities. The study found fishing to have the highest cross-over participation in 2020 as 81% of fishing participants reported enjoying many other outdoor activities outside fishing.

The study also showed spending time with family still top of mind for fishing participation (51.3%) and more than 55% of people intend to continue fishing this year.

With the increase in diversity and youth participation comes a collective voice for conservation. Catch and release was the most prominent practice across all types of fishing in 2020, showing an amplified interest in maintenance of waterways while enjoying time on the water.

The Special Report on Fishing was created in partnership with the Outdoor Foundation and provides one of the most comprehensive looks at the state of U.S. fishing and take out boating  participation. The full report, along with an accompanying infographic, is available at TakeMeFishing.org/SpecialReport. The website also features beginner resources, including how-to guides for getting started and an interactive map of places to fish and boat, as well as links to COVID-19 safety guidelines.