North Carolina Trout Anglers Contribute Significantly to Economy

Last Updated on April 23, 2020 7:06 am

RALEIGH, N.C. — Trout fishing opportunities provided by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission have substantial economic effects on North Carolina’s economy, according to a recent study conducted by Responsive Management and Southwick Associates.

Nearly 149,000 trout anglers fished approximately 1.6 million days in 2014, and the effects these trout anglers had on North Carolina’s economy totaled an estimated $383 million, according to the study, “Mountain Trout Fishing: Economic Impacts on and Contributions to North Carolina’s Economy.” This dollar amount represents anglers’ direct spending, such as purchases of fishing equipment, food and accommodations, as well as secondary spending by businesses associated with trout angling and their employees.

The study also found that money spent on trout fishing in 2014 supported approximately 3,593 jobs.

In addition to answering questions pertaining to expenditures and numbers of days fished, survey respondents answered questions related to their opinions of access to Public Mountain Trout Waters and their satisfaction with trout fishing in North Carolina. Overall, 76 percent of anglers surveyed were satisfied with their trout fishing experience in North Carolina in 2014.

Other survey findings included:

  • Hatchery Supported Trout Waters were the most frequently fished waters (710,665 days), followed by Delayed Harvest Trout Waters (390,085 days) and Wild Trout Waters (276,804 days).
  • The estimated economic effects of specific classifications were $141,273,525 for Hatchery Supported Trout Waters; $108,355,161 for Delayed Harvest Trout Waters; and $60,765,562 for Wild Trout Waters.

From March through May 2015, Responsive Management, a firm specializing in natural resource and outdoor recreation issues, surveyed 2,113 randomly selected licensed anglers 18 and older who fished for mountain trout in 2014. Southwick Associates, a market research and economics firm specializing in the hunting, shooting, sportfishing, and outdoor recreation markets, analyzed the economic data.

This latest survey is the second time the Commission has funded a study to help quantify the economic impact of its trout management program on North Carolina’s economy, said Jacob Rash, the agency’s coldwater research coordinator. The first study, conducted in 2009, was used to develop a comprehensive trout management plan to enhance public fishing opportunities.

“The Wildlife Commission conducts scientific angler surveys because the process of fisheries management includes understanding and incorporating the opinions and preferences of those who support fisheries resources,” Rash said. “This study was designed to ensure that we collected representative, reliable data from North Carolina anglers so we could use that data to make the best fisheries management decisions possible.”

The Commission funded the study with money from the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration program.

To download a copy of the full report, visit the Commission’s trout fishing page and click on “Mountain Trout Fishing: Economic Impacts on and Contributions to North Carolina’s Economy.”

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