As the 2020 fishing season gets underway one thing is clear:  the number of people heading out to the lakes in the United States is up at the same time that the overall percentage of anglers is down.

According to the 2019 Special Report on Fishing, an estimated 49.4 million people fished in the prior year of 2018.  The report - sanctioned by the Outdoor Foundation and the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation - also noted that that number represented a 7% increase from the year prior.  However the overall percentage of anglers went down by almost 2% in the last ten years - from 18.7% in 2007 to 2018's 16.4%.

How can that be?  Simply put the number of anglers didn't keep up with the overall population increase in the United States.  In other words even as the fishing sport picked up new anglers, it didn't keep up the pace with the increased general population.

Some of the other interesting items discovered in the study:

  • The average angler hit the lake to drop a line 18 times last year. (26% of the sample)
  • The majority of anglers made 4 - 11 trips to the lake (37% of the sample)
  • The most-dedicated anglers fished 104 or more times last year (2.5% of the sample)
  • Female fishermen are on the rise - up 6%
  • There is growth in the number of Hispanic people fishing - a 100% increase in 10 years

The Wisconsin fishing opener was the past weekend, on Saturday May 2.  Minnesotans can head to the lake with a pole this coming Saturday, on May 9.

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