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Gone Fishin'

It's a cool morning and the sun is just peaking up over the horizon. You pull the truck up to the river near your favorite fishing hole, grab your fishing pole and head down to the water. For the next couple hours, there won't be a care in the world. Just you, the water, and hopefully a couple fish on the other end of the line. But of course, you're not the only one out there on the river enjoying the 'solitude'. According to an annual Special Report On Fishing and Boating released by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and the Outdoor Foundation, 46.2 million Americans (16.2% of Americans older than 6) participated in fishing in 2011. Fishing continues to be the most popular recreational activity in the country and according to the report, anglers made a total of 840 million fishing trips last year (an average 18.2 days per angler) and included individuals from all walks of life (Figure 1). Fishing is one of the great American pastimes that has become more than just a father-son tradition. It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, young or old, male or female, it seems that everyone is getting into fishing. Nearly everyone, that is. Notably, the results of the study indicate that anglers are predominantly Caucasian, with Hispanics and African Americans making up only 5.4% and 5.5% of anglers, respectively.


Despite being the most popular recreational activity in the U.S., there has been a decreasing trend in the number of participants over time. From 1991 to 2006, the number of people older than 16 that participated in fishing fell from 35.6 million to 30.0 million. Likewise, between 2006 and 2011 the number of anglers ages 6 and up fell by 3.5 million. The Hispanic population is the largest minority in the U.S. and the report indicates that attracting more minorities, such as Hispanics, to the sport of fishing is critical to increasing overall participation by Americans. 


In spite of this decrease in participation, the amount of money spent on fishing has risen over the past two decades, from $24 billion in 1991 to $42 billion in 2006 (accounting for inflation that was an increase of about $6.5 billion). One of the biggest reasons for the increase is due to the amount of money that is spent on equipment. Anglers' equipment costs have jumped from $9.4 billion in 1991 (about $13.9 billion in 2006 dollars) to $18.8 billion in 2006. Although it's unclear why the expenses have increased, one can speculate that advancements in technology have played a factor.


In California, the price of a fishing license has been increasing faster than the rate of inflation. In 1996, a California resident fishing license cost $24.50 ($35.15 in 2012 dollars), but today the price of a fishing license is $41.50. Like most things, the price will continue to increase and some will be deterred from the sport while others will continue their passion. Whether you are trying to escape the daily grid for a few hours, love the taste of fish, relish the thrill of the catch or just enjoy being outdoors, fishing has become a sport for the masses.

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Source to sink 

In population ecology, the  source-sink model is used to fish report headerdescribe how variation in habitat quality may affect the population growth or decline of organisms. Source populations are in high quality habitats that on average allow the populations to increase (i.e., reproduction exceeds mortality) and result in the dispersal of individuals into other habitat patches. Sink populations exist in low quality habitat patches that would not be able to support a population in isolation, and without the contribution of individuals from a source population, would become extinct. State and federal agencies in the United States annually release millions of hatchery salmon and steelhead into public waters each year...  

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Figure 1. Angler demographics for 2011 presented in the 2012 Special Report on Boating and Fishing.
IN THE NEWS: Recent stories you might have missed...
Commercial Salmon Fishermen on Strike

Commercial fisherman Bill Webb is selling fresh-caught wild King Salmon off his fishing boat at Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay for $8 per pound. When the fish on ice are gone, Webb says there won't be any more for awhile. Webb and his fellow fishermen held a meeting Tuesday and voted to strike, leaving most of the fleet docked Wednesday. "There are a few renegades fishing," Webb said. "There always are." Webb's beef is fish prices. He and his fellow commercial fishermen are being offered $2.75 per pound for their catch. Read more> 

New Tests Find Toxic Chemicals In Columbia River Fish

Oregon Public Broadcasting

New tests show one of the most popular sport fish on Columbia also contain high contamination levels. Bass carry elevated quantities of a variety of toxic chemicals. Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality's first comprehensive tests on the mid-Columbia from Bonneville Dam upstream to McNary Dam found particularly high contamination near Hood River. Scientists caught bass and sucker fish, then cut them in filets and tested the tissue for toxic substances... Read more >  

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Copper in water makes salmon vulnerable

Science News   

Copper pollution in water can affect salmon, interfering with their sense of smell that normally warns of a predator's presence, a U.S. researcher says. Jenifer McIntyre at Washington State University found tiny amounts of copper from brake linings and mining operations finding its way into waterways affects the fishes' sense of smell so much they can't detect a compound in water that ordinarily alerts them to be still and wary... Read more >