July Newswaves

Table of Contents

2017 Special Report on Fishing Shows Participation up 1.5 Million

RBFF and the Outdoor Foundation’s just released 2017 Special Report on Fishing follows up the good news shared through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Outdoor Foundation with even more positive figures and trends. Most significantly, the report shows fishing participation has increased by 1.5 million over the previous year. Additionally, several exciting trends and participation increases among key segments are highlighted in the report.



  • Fishing is still the number two adult outdoor activity, but it’s gaining ground on jogging
  • 2.5 million participants tried fishing for the very first time
    • New participants accounted for 5.3% of the total participant base and tended to be young and female
  • 3.8 million Hispanics participated in fishing (an 11% increase)
  • Hispanic anglers go on 6 more outings per year than their general market peers
  • Youth participation increased 3% to 11 million total participants
  • Americans took 855 million total fishing trips, equating to 18.8 trips per participant

“These findings energize us and provide some validation for the work we are doing on a daily basis,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “Our efforts to recruit new audiences and bring families to the water are certainly paying off. 60 in 60 is off to a great start, and effective R3 (recruitment, retention and reactivation) programs will only grow the participant base and secure funding for conservation programs for years to come.”

The Special Report on Fishing is the product of a partnership between RBFF and the Outdoor Foundation and looks into participation trends, barriers to entry, motivating factors and preferences of key groups of anglers.

“Research shows that fishing is an essential piece of America’s outdoor tradition, and it often leads children to pursue outdoor activities and healthy living into adulthood,” said Ivan Levin, deputy director of the Outdoor Foundation. “This report aims to help the fishing industry, and the entire outdoor industry, understand fishing participation in order to engage even more people in recreational fishing and create the next generation of lifelong anglers and outdoor enthusiasts.”

The full report and an accompanying infographic is available in the RBFF Resource Center.

#FirstCatch Centers: Cultivating New Customers for the Industry

Sports like baseball, golf and football all have successful youth development programs. Seeing the obvious lack of such national programs for fishing and boating, RBFF is taking the lead in endorsing pre-existing state and local programs, which will be known as the Take Me Fishing #FirstCatch Centers, across the country.

Going beyond just teaching individuals and families the joys of fishing, the goal is to develop lifelong anglers and boaters who contribute much-needed funds to conservation programs and the economy for decades to come. Research shows that multiple touch points is critical to fostering continued participation. As such, each program will be evaluated based on its effectiveness in collecting data on participants and ensuring repeat visits.

Starting Fall 2017, these endorsed pilot programs will bring fishing and boating experiences and education to youth and families in Texas and Pennsylvania.

  • Fishing’s Future, (Texas)
    • 60+ pre-existing chapters across the country
    • Will open an additional 8 chapters in the Houston, Dallas, and New Jersey area, as well as work with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.
  • Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) (greater Philadelphia)
    • Mobile #FirstCatch Center will bring fishing and boating experiences to consumers
    • Later in the year, a second mobile unit will be added to increase the program’s reach
    • PFBC will also be working with and hosting events at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia.

Interested in sponsoring the #FirstCatch Centers or donating equipment? Please contact Rachel Auslander (rauslander@rbff.org).

60 in 60: How You Can Ride the Wave of Support

The crew at RBFF is fresh off a successful trip to ICAST. We’re happy to report that industry support for 60 in 60 and the broader R3 initiatives that provide a base for this goal is strong.

In a business session, RBFF President & CEO Frank Peterson, along with the American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) Chief Marketing Officer Liz Ogilvie and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund’s Program Director Scott Wanetka covered the tremendous positive impacts achieving 60 in 60 could provide. We’re already off to a strong start and each member of the panel shared insights on how organizations in the fishing and boating industry would benefit from the increased participation that would result from reaching 60 million anglers.

RBFF and the 60 in 60 Committee are here to help! A vast array of resources were shared at ICAST, including:

Head to RBFF.org/60in60 and ASAFishing.org/60in60 for even more resources and information on the 60 in 60 goal. All stakeholders are encouraged to view and download these materials to improve their recruitment, retention and reactivation practices and move closer to achieving 60 in 60.