By JOHN WISSE|
ODNR, Division of Wildlife
Fishing is the nation’s fifth most popular recreational activity, according to a study done for the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association by American Sports Data Incorporated.
Topping the list were swimming, walking, bicycling, and bowling. Ranking sixth through tenth behind fishing were weight lifting, tent camping, basketball, day hiking, and treadmill exercise.
Toss out a portion of the swimming participation, bowling, weight lifting, and treadmill exercises as indoor activities and among outdoor recreation activities, fishing ranks higher in popularity. The American Sports Data, Inc. study consisted of distributing 25,000 surveys to various households across the nation. Results were compiled from the 14,000 surveys that were returned.
Ohio ranks 11th nationally in the number of people who going fishing each year, according to a 1996 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Survey. Ohio also ranked 11th nationally in the total number of fishing days and 12th in fishing-related expenditures. In 1999, there were 890,311 fishing licenses sold in the Buckeye State. An estimated 1.3 million people fish in Ohio each year.
It should be noted that the more popular activities of swimming, walking, bicycling, and bowling hardly compare to recreational fishing in terms of the economic impact these activities generate for the state’s economy. In this reference, the primary and secondary expenditures related to recreational fishing produces an economic impact of approximately $1.9 billion yearly for Ohio’s economy.
“We are a destination state for sport anglers, especially when it comes to walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and steelhead fishing in Lake Erie. Ohio is nationally recognized for its sportfishing opportunities,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Mike Budzik.
Nationally, 73 percent of all anglers are men; 27 percent are women. About 85 percent of Ohioans age 16 and older have gone fishing at least once in their lifetime with nearly 30 percent claiming to have gone fishing at least one in the past year. Along with fishing popularity, Ohio is the sixth most visited state in the U.S. by nonresidents according to the state’s Tourism Bureau.