Two new reports show positive trends for fishing, with data revealing increases in Hispanic, youth and female participation.
Fishing is again the No. 2 most popular adult outdoor activity, but is closing in on the No. 1 activity — jogging. The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation said the increase is being reported by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Outdoor Foundation.
The latest fishing license sales data from the Fish & Wildlife Service shows a 1.79 percent increase in fishing license sales. It was enough to bring the 10-year change in license sales to 4.26 percent. Even more encouraging is that it marks the third consecutive year of increases in license sales after a long period of stagnant sales.
Additionally, the Outdoor Foundation released its 2017 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report, which includes plenty of positive news for the sport of fishing.
Saltwater fishing participation increased 4 percent during the last three years. Fly fishing increased 6 percent in 2016 and 9.8 percent during the last three years, and kayak fishing increased 4.6 percent in 2016 and 31.8 percent during the last three years.
Youth participation was 15.6 million, with 19.5 percent of people ages 6 to 24 participating in fishing, up from 14.8 million in 2015.
Adult participation was also up, with 31.5 million people over age 25 fishing, which is 14.6 percent of the adult population.
"We are very encouraged by the positive news coming from both the USFWS and the Outdoor Foundation," RBFF president and CEO Frank Peterson said in a statement. "It's great to see the sport of fishing getting the appreciation we all know it deserves, and with fishing being the No. 1 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."
The RBFF's 2017 Special Report on Fishing, which will be released in full in 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," Peterson said. "We're seeing increases in Hispanic participation, youth participation, and female participation, in addition to an overall increase in participation nationwide."