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What Area of the Country Has the Most Active Anglers?

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Florida and the West are hot spots for fishing, but do those areas of the United States have the most active anglers?

In terms of number of participants, the answer would seem to be “yes,” but that’s not the case.

In the American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) report titled “A Snapshot of the U.S. Angler Population by Region,” the association found that the Midwest and Northeast have the lowest “churn” rate for anglers. The “churn” rate refers to the number of anglers transitioning in and out of fishing every year.

Here are some highlights of the ASA report:

  • A higher proportion of anglers remain active in the Northeast and Midwest. More than 20% of anglers purchased a license five out of five years in the Northeast and Midwest—compared to just eight percent and 16% of anglers in the Southeast and West, respectively.
  • Participation is growing slightly in about one-third of the states. Between 2004 and 2013, 17 states experienced growth in the number of licensed anglers while the rest showed reductions. Most of the states showing growth are in the West and Southeast.
  • The annual churn rate is highest in the Southeast and lowest in the Midwest. In the Southeast, the average annual churn rate is highest, at 53%, while it is lowest, 28%, in the Midwest, considerably less than the national rate of about 45%. The rate is 39% in the West and 33% in the Northeast.
  • Regardless of region, the churn rate is highest among younger anglers. The average annual churn rate is highest, with a range of 37-63% across all four regions, among licensed anglers between the ages of 18 and 24. Licensed anglers aged 55 to 64 years old have the lowest churn rate of all age groups, with a range of 22-46% across all four regions.
  • Regardless of region, the churn rate is higher among women. The average annual churn rate among women is highest in the Southeast, where 64% of female anglers lapse in their fishing license renewals from year to year. It is lowest among women in the Midwest, at 41%. The rate is 48% in the Northeast and 50% in the West.
  • Regardless of region, urban anglers have a higher churn rate. The churn rate ranges from 34-60% for urban anglers across all four regions, from 30-55% for those residing in suburban communities, and from 24-46% for those in rural communities.
  • The West attracts the most non-resident anglers. Nonresidents comprise as much as 29% (West) and as little as 19% (Midwest and Southeast) of the licensed angler population (it’s 20% in the Northeast).

ASA compiled and studied 10 years of fishing license data covering 2004 to 2013 for 12 states (Colo., Fla., Ga., Maine, Mich., Minn., Miss., Mont., N.H., N.Y., Utah and Wis.) to provide regionally and nationally representative portraits of anglers for this report.

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What Area of the Country Has the Most Active Anglers?