A new study shows that more women and Hispanics are fishing than ever before, highlighting record-breaking diversity for America's anglers.

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) tracked participation, days out fishing, and interest in the sport in the 2019 Special Report on Fishing, created in partnership with the Outdoor Foundation.

"It's often assumed that all anglers look alike," said Stephanie Vatalaro, RBFF's Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications. "Our mission is to welcome everyone to the water — because if you want to learn to fish, you should have that opportunity no matter who you are. And while our work isn't over, it's clear from these results that the tides are changing."

Tracy Nguyen-Chung, founder of Brown Folks Fishing, said the growing participation of black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPoC) is exciting because it also means there are more voices to speak about environmental issues.

"Many of our communities have deeply held traditions and roots in fishing, especially here in the US where Indigenous communities have long been stewards of the waters we fish on," Nguyen-Chung said. 

But it's a different narrative in fly fishing.

"While the overall number of anglers participating in fly fishing has grown over the last two years, all non-white groups have either stagnated or declined in participation," Nguyen-Chung said. She pointed out that the participation of Native Americans is not broken out in the report. "This is not only a challenge to accurate reporting, but also highly problematic erasure."

Some BIPoC anglers to follow:

Indigenous guide Ashely Nichole Lewis (@badashoutdoors)

Fishing guide Hilary Hutcheson (@outsidehilary)

Fly-fishing guide Alvin Dedeaux (@alvin_dedeaux_fly_fishing)

U.S. Navy Bowman Veteran Chad Brown (@_chadbrown_), founder of Soul River (@soulriverinc)

Fly fisher Odom Wu (@odomonthefly)

RBFF's Take Me Fishing campaigns, with how-to videos in both English and Spanish, sought to introduce more people to the sport. RBFF's other diversity initiatives include its #WomenMakingWaves campaign and new programs funded by the George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar Education Fund grants.

While there is more work to do to center diverse voices in the sport and lower barrier to entry, these are steps in the right direction. "All of the work that is being done is by and for communities of color, despite the decline and despite the lack of effort from the industry as whole," Nguyen-Chung said. "And I'm encouraged by that because it means we are reimagining and reclaiming the terms and conditions by which we choose to participate."

Related

Maddie Brenneman holding a piece of fishing line

Cast, breathe, and repeat

When Maddie Brenneman is fly fishing, there's no such thing as anxiety. BUFF just released a short video featuring the Colorado-based guide and the joy she finds in celebrating life to the fullest by doing what she loves. Constantly taking a long look at her own motivations and ...read more

Abaco Lodge Owner Oliver White (center) watches for Bonefish—and keeps an eye on his partner’s fishing line, to make sure it doesn’t get tangled—while his partner casts and the guide calls casting commands.

Kicking single-use plastic by the thousands

I grip the rail, jostle in my seat, and squint my eyes as the air whips my hair around. The ocean’s teal-toned abyss in front of our saltwater flat boat is eerily vacant—at least, above the water. We are west of Great Abaco, one of 700 islands in The Bahamas, in the saltwater ...read more

Man in red walking on a log

The wants and needs of outdoor consumers

As the outdoor movement gains momentum by the day, brands and retailers are pondering, "Who is my next customer?" ISPO, the German trade fair, and the market research institute Rheingold partnered to provide new insights into current and prospective outdoorists, and the way they ...read more

Paddlers in downtown Austin

5 takeaways from a special paddlesports report

In Montana, Todd Frank just opened The Trail Head River Sports. In Colorado, Hala GearSpace is selling more whitewater accessories than high-end rafts. And in Oklahoma, more than 200 stores showed up to explore 120 exhibits at Paddlesports Retailer last month.  These are the ...read more

100 Mile fly fishing film

Fly Fishing Film Tour entrusts future with movie giant

A former drug cartel member finds his road to recovery through fly-fishing off the coast of Honduras. A fishing group hopes for success on their hunt to tame the elusive African Tiger fish. And a daughter lives vicariously through her mother's tales of fishing Greenland's fertile ...read more

Steve Barker headshot for promo

Steve Barker steps in as Outdoor Industry Association’s interim executive director

Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is more than one month into its search for a new executive director to replace Amy Roberts, who started at The North Face in the last week.  In the meantime, Eagle Creek Co-Founder Steve Barker will serve as the interim executive director. He ...read more

SafeOutside logo | SNEWS Sexual Misconduct and Gender Bias in the Outdoor Industry Survey

#SafeOutside: "Safety means more than a good belay."

Results of a sexual assault and harassment survey among climbers are on par with national result: The climbing industry is no better than any other industry. But researchers say that what is unique and encouraging is the way the climbing industry as a whole has responded to the ...read more

grid representing action shots of vista outdoor brands

Breaking down the Vista Outdoor boycott

"Excuse me. Can you tell me where the CamelBaks are?" I asked a hovering, green-vested employee in a big metro REI store last fall. "We don't carry CamelBak anymore," she said. Obviously well-versed, she continued, "Their parent company also owns a semi-automatic rifle ...read more

SHIFT conference

Amid SHIFT controversy, complex questions surrounding diversity in the outdoors emerge

Racial controversy plagued the recent SHIFT conference after some participants came forward with accusations that the event's executive director, Christian Beckwith, lacks the basic justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) training needed to lead the organization. The ...read more