Female Participation in Fishing
Mossy Oak

Female Participation in Fishing Increased by 3.8 Million Since 2011

More women than ever picked up a rod and reel in 2021, according to a study by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF). The study, done in collaboration with the Outdoor Foundation, said that women now make up 37 percent of all anglers in the United States. This is the highest number on record for female participation in fishing, the report said.

In 2021, a record 19.4 million women went fishing, which was an 8% increase since 2019. This also represents an increase of 3.8 million more women fishing than a decade prior, in 2011. Of those sportswomen, 1.6 million of them were fishing for the first time in 2021. Added up, the total number of times women went fishing in 2021 was 288 million. (And that is only the outings accounted for in this study. Imagine how many were unaccounted for!)

Participation in fishing overall is increasing, too. In 2021, 52.4 million Americans ages 6 and over went fishing, which was an increase of 4.15% over 2019. The pandemic contributed to a flush of fishing participation, as families viewed fishing as a safe alternative to other activities.

The RBFF report concluded that 99 percent of participants surveyed say they plan to continue fishing. This is in part due to organizations such as Ladies, Let's Go Fishing, which focuses on attracting women to fishing through educational, hands-on programs and online events. In the 25 years it has been active, Ladies, Let's Go Fishing has introduced thousands of new female anglers to fishing.

Other organizations that proactively connect women to the outdoors through activities such as fishing include Artemis Sportswomen, WildHERness, Women Outdoors, and more.

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that strives to increase participation in recreational boating and fishing, thereby helping to conserve and restore the country's aquatic natural resources.

The Outdoor Foundation is dedicated to getting people outside for their health, the health of communities and the health of the outdoor industry. Through community investment and groundbreaking research, the Outdoor Foundation works with partners across the country to address equity barriers and help make the outdoors accessible for all.

Key Findings

Some other rather interesting statistics from the Special Report on Fishing included the following:

? 54.4 million Americans ages 6 and over went fishing.
? Women now account for 37 percent of anglers in the U.S.
? 3.7 million were first-time participants and, of that number, 43 percent were women.
? Nearly 41 million Americans ages 6 and over freshwater fished.
? 13.8 million fished in saltwater.
? 19.4 million female anglers fished.
? 2.8 million more female anglers fished than five years prior, and 3.8 million more than in 2011.
? 1.6 million female participants were first-timers.
? 7.9 million children ages 6 to 12 fished.
? 5 million adolescents ages 13 to 17 fished.
? 4.7 million Hispanics ages 6 and over fished.
? 17 percent of the American population went fishing.
? More Americans fished than played golf and tennis combined in 2016 (new data not available).

At a time when state wildlife agencies are worried about hunters dropping out of the sport in droves, it's good to see fishing is retaining numbers and growing every year. It should ensure a continued life for the tradition for many years to come.