Freshwater, Saltwater and Great Lake Anglers Spend their Dollars Differently

All information provide by Southwick Associates

The nation’s 49 million anglers pump millions of dollars into the U.S. economy every year.

New insights from the 2016 Sportfishing in America report show that freshwater, saltwater and Great Lake anglers are very different from one another in their spending activities.

Since each type of fishing brings a different set of conditions, challenges and equipment needs; anglers make purchases to set themselves up for the most successful fishing trip.

Concerning types of expenditures –

  • Great Lake anglers spend the greatest percentage on travel largely surpassing the other types of anglers (88 percent of their spending).
  • Saltwater anglers spend proportionately more on fishing equipment (20 percent of their spending).
  • Freshwater anglers purchase the greatest percent of auxiliary equipment including camping gear, binoculars and fishing-specific clothing (9 percent of their spending).

Digging deeper into fishing equipment, further differences are found.

  • Freshwater anglers spend more than others on lures, flies and bait (19 percent of their spending).
  • Great Lake anglers expend a greater percentage on rods, reels and components (39 percent of their spending). They also spend over 10 percent more than freshwater anglers on lines and leaders.
  • Saltwater anglers disburse the highest percent of dollars on fishing electronics (23 percent of their spending) including depth and fish finders as the harsher conditions of saltwater make electronics essential safety devices.

According to the report –

  • Freshwater anglers drive 84 percent most of the total spending.
  • Saltwater anglers make up 24 percent, while Great Lake anglers make up only 5 percent of all anglers.

Despite their smaller numbers, on average, saltwater ($1,688) and Great Lakes ($1,283) anglers spend more per person than freshwater anglers ($1,128). By catering towards each market, based on their different conditions, challenges, and equipment needs, retailers can best capture these markets.

Anglers Feel the Holiday Spirit

Although December might not be the most popular time to fish, a recent poll of anglers found that many anglers still have fishing on their mind over the holiday season.

Though it may be a challenge to wrap a rod and reel combo, many anglers plan on purchasing fishing equipment to go under the Christmas tree.

Southwick Associates’ November AnglerSurvey found that 23 percent of responding anglers intended to purchase fishing equipment as a holiday gift this season. while thirty-seven were still unsure of their holiday gift-giving plans at the time of the survey.

In good news for the fishing tackle industry, anglers who plan to bestow fishing-related presents intend to spend a significant amount on their gifts. asked these anglers how much they planned to spend, and found that, on average, they intend to spend approximately $250 on fishing gear this December for their friends and family.

Christmas and the holidays provide a prime opportunity for anglers to share their passion for sportfishing with their family, friends, neighbors, and/or coworkers. Giving the gift of fishing equipment to a child can help pass on a love of fishing to the next generation.

Presenting fishing gear – and fishing licenses – is a sure way to make the anglers in your lives happy, plus can be a great way to help introduce someone new to the sport.

Join the AnglerSurvey

To help continually improve, protect and advance angling, hunting, shooting and other outdoor recreation, all sportsmen and sportswomen are encouraged to participate in the bi-monthly surveys at,, and/or

Every other month, participants who complete the surveys are entered into a drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice.

Southwick Associates is a market research and economics firm, specializing in the sportfishing, hunting, shooting, and outdoor recreation markets.