Special Report Spotlight: Female Participation

With a 10% increase since 2019, female participation in fishing continues to grow as women now comprise 36% of all anglers in the United States. A strong 42% of first-time anglers were female compared to 35% of overall participants, yet fishing still lost almost 4 million women representing 45% of all lapsed anglers.  As female participation approaches the 20 million milestone, the recruitment and retention of female anglers remains vital to the success and growth of the fishing and boating industry. To better understand the motivations of these anglers and the barriers potential participants face, take a deeper dive into the data and insights from the 2021 Special Report on Fishing:

Frequency & Avidity

  • Female anglers reported 294.8 millions in 2020, averaging about 15 outings per participant.
  • 68% went fishing between 1 and 11 times last year (fewer than once a month), while only 6% reported fishing at least once a week (52 outings or more).
  • 49% of female anglers said they would like to fish more often, with an additional 3% saying they don’t currently fish but would like to.

Age & Education

  • Female participation skewed younger. Only 18% of female participants were over the age of 55, compared to 23% of total participants.
  • More than half of female participants had some level of college education, on par with participants overall.

Outside of Fishing

  • Nearly half of female participants walked outside to stay fit.
  • Female anglers were slightly more likely to have gone camping (42%) and hiking (32%) than participants overall.

Considering Fishing

  • Just over 13.1 million women considered fishing in 2020.
  • 15% of females who considered fishing were Black, almost double the share of female anglers who were Black. The gap between consideration and participation indicates a prime opportunity for the industry to convert new customers. 
  • Nearly a third of women who considered fishing were under the age of 25, a healthy sign for the future of new fishing participants.