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Women’s fishing numbers grow

Photo Courtesy: Ladies, Let's Go Fishing. The number of women fishing has grown to its largest total ever.

A report found that of the 52.4 million Americans ages six and up who went fishing in 2021, women accounted for the highest percentage ever.

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, in collaboration with the Outdoor Foundation, reported that 19.4 million women went fishing in 2021, which is 37% of the total number and the highest percentage ever. There were 1.6 million females who fished for the first time in 2021, and the total fishing outings for females was 288 million.

Retention of anglers was a key point for American Sport Fishing president Glenn Hughes after the pandemic in 2020 increased fishing numbers to 55 million. Before ICAST 2021, Hughes said creating positive outings was important.

“The main goal is keeping these folks and not losing them, because we do lose some each year,” he said. “We’ve got to show them a positive experience.”

The report noted that 99 percent of anglers said they planned to continue to fish. The fishing industry in whole contributed almost $50 billion to the U.S. economy in 2018, the latest available report, and that should grow with the additional anglers.

Although female participation fell slightly in 2021 from the 2020 high, it has grown more than 2.8 million from 5 years ago and 3.8 million more since 2011.

Organizations and hands-on programs like, Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing, work to re-engage women. With a motto, “Bring the women, get the whole family,” it has grown the female fishing corps in the organization’s 25 years.

Among female anglers, 25 percent have an income of more than $100.000, while 19% earn between $50,000 and $75,000 and 24% make between $25,000 and $50,000.