Impact of Women in Recreational Fishing

Impact of Women in Recreational Fishing

Impact of Women in Recreational Fishing

New Data on Women and Fishing: Women now account for 36 percent of anglers in the U.S. plus how much they may spend

Following a record increase in participation in 2020, women and anglers in general continue to find enjoyment, companionship, and peace of mind on the water, according to data from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) 2023 Special Report on Fishing. In 2022, 54.5 million Americans ages six and over went fishing, an increase of 4 percent over 2021 and just under 2020’s high of 54.7 million. 

More women than ever picked up a rod and reel in 2021, according to the RBFF report, stating women now make up 36 percent of all anglers in the United States. This is the highest number on record for female participation in fishing, up from 33 percent in prior years.

Here are the latest statistics and information shared at ICAST 2023.

19.8 million women went fishing in 2022, a 40 percent increase over the past decade and an 8% increase since 2019. 

3.8 million more women went fishing than a decade prior, in 2011.

The total number of times women went fishing in 2022 was 293 million. That is only the outings accounted for in the study, not including those unaccounted for based on the numbers of additional people women bring into fishing.

Out of 4.1 million first-time participants, 40% in 2022 were women as were 46% of those considering fishing in 2022. This total is up from 3.7 million new participants the prior year.

2.7 million more female anglers fished than five years prior, and 4.2 million more than in 2011.

1.8 million female participants were first-timers.

Economic Impact of Women in Fishing:

Female anglers pose a significant revenue opportunity for the fishing industry, according to the report.  

A 10% increase in female participation would provide an additional $1 billion in revenue for the sportfishing industry. This means each additional female participant is worth nearly $1,000 in annual revenue for the industry.

Women in the South and Midwest regions both spent around $3.5 billion each (over $7 billion total) on fishing.

In the Midwest, female anglers each spent an average of $1,106 annually.

In the South, female anglers spent an annual average of $796 per person.

54% of households say women plan the family recreational activities.

70-80% of consumer spending decisions are made by women.

Florida ranks as the highest for economic activity and job growth from recreational boating, totaling $31.3B, up 53% and 109,000 jobs, up 19% from 2018.

Despite the strong female angler representation in the Midwest, saltwater fishing has emerged as a driving force behind the financial stimulus female anglers bring to the industry. In 2021, female saltwater anglers spent more per capita than female freshwater anglers ($3.7 billion versus $6.6 billion, respectively).

Women spent relatively more on special equipment including vehicles, boats, real estate, and more for saltwater fishing compared to freshwater fishing (35 percent compared to 22 percent, respectively).

Fishing in General:

18 percent of the American population went fishing, with 14.3 million fishing in saltwater.

54.5 million total U.S. anglers, a 4% increase in 2022 participation numbers.

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 27 years it has been active, Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing has introduced thousands of new female anglers to fishing.

As concerns around loneliness and mental health continue to grow, fishing and boating provide an excellent opportunity for connection, as the report indicates. Last year, only 19 percent of anglers typically fished alone, with eight in ten participants choosing to fish in groups of two to five. 

Fishing participants ranked spending time in nature, escaping everyday stresses, and spending time with family or friends among the top benefits. 

“We know through research that recruiting and retaining female anglers is critical to growing fishing and boating participation overall,” said RBFF President and CEO Dave Chanda. “The bottom line is, increasing female fishing participation is also good for business, and the industry stands to benefit greatly from focusing more on this growing audience.”

Chanda continued, “Even after many have regained a sense of normalcy and returned to old routines, people are still choosing to fish and boat. With a renewed focus on wellness, fishing and boating offer an accessible outlet for those looking to unplug, escape the stresses of everyday life, and spend more time with friends and family.”

2023 LLGF remaining events, with optional or included fishing are:

Sept. 22-23 Guy Harvey Outpost Bass Seminar & Tournament at Camp Mack, Lake Wales, FL

Oct. 13-15 Keys Saltwater Weekend Seminar and fishing, Islamorada, FL

Nov. 17-19 St. Augustine Surf Fishing Academy

Virtual meetings with education TBA

For more information about Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing, events and sponsors, visit .

This data was based on the Special Report on Fishing, in partnership with the Outdoor Foundation and conducted by Southwick Associates, available at TakeMeFishing.Org/SpecialReport and NMMA .

About Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing

The Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing Foundation (LLGF) is a national charitable 501C3 organization dedicated to attracting women and families to fishing and encouraging conservation and responsible angling. In addition to providing educational events with hands-on practice and an opportunity to go fishing, LLGF promotes networking among women anglers and emphasizes mentorships. Founded in 1997 by Betty Bauman, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, LLGF has over 9,000 graduates and is the largest organization in the world whose objective is to introduce women and families to fishing. Both Bauman and the University series – dubbed “The No-Yelling School of Fishing” – are known nationally in the fishing and marine industries. The organization has earned rave reviews from media including Inside Edition, The Early Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS, Good Morning America, Outdoor Life Network, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Southern Living and more. 

Featured on national network television and more, the series is supported by major partners including Recreational Fishing and Boating Foundation, Take Me Fishing, Vamos a Pescar, Mercury, Magic Tilt trailers, Shearwater Boats, Power-Pole, Penn, TACO Metals, Lowrance, Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida and Fish Florida. Largest Annual Sponsors are Freedom Boat Club, ICOM America, CCA Florida STAR, Bob’s Machine Shop, AFTCO, Costa, Smith Optics, Frogg Toggs, Hubbards Marina, Star Brite, Future Angler Foundation and Preferred Marine Sales Group, Inc. Top donors are Yeti, Fishing Headquarters, Engel, AO Coolers, Lady Pamela, Big Rock Sports Conservation Foundation, Egret Baits/Vudu, Canoe Outpost, Flying Fisherman, Pelagic Gear, Flanigans, Guy Harvey, TTI Blakemore, Sandbar Tackle, Danco, FishBites, Hobie Eyewear, Reel ‘em Up Lures and Brella. Keys-only sponsors include Presenting Platinum Sponsor Plantation Boat Mart and Marina as well as Island Arms & Indoor Range, Sunset Inn, Jeanne Towne of Fidelity Real Estate and the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.

Photo Captions from supplied photos Ladies ID Left to right (if you see other photos and need captions we can provide):

Plantation Boat Mart Sunday: Melissa Sinasac, Sharon Russell, Lyn Gremonprez, Brittni Swenson and Leslie De la Torre, all from Tavernier, FL.

Top Inshore Grouper: On Dylan Scoble/Blackwater Charters: Ann DeStefanis (Top Inshore Release), Palmetto Bay, FL; Abbie Edwards, Fort Myers, FL; Jessica Holbrook (First, Second and Third Place Inshore), Fort Myers, FL and Susan Anthony, Fort Myers, FL, with the top grouper.

Kellie Magyari Pompano Beach FL with Joyce Davis Dania Beach FL Peacock Bass