Enjoy Fishing on more than 270 wildlife refuges, FIND YOUR ADVENTUREThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offers an abundance of fishing opportunities.The National Wildlife Refuge System manages over 270 National Wildlife Refuge FishingPrograms that include everything from saltwater fishing to using ice tipups on high elevation lakes. You can learn more about refuge fishing opportunities by reviewing Your Guide to Fishing on National Wildlife Refuges as well as the Refuge System's Fishing page. In addition, the National Fish Hatchery System offers fishing opportunities at or near many hatcheries.

Fishing generates tremendous economic benefit through taxes on fishing equipment. These revenues are paid by anglers, distributed by the Service and spent by State resource agencies on aquatic habitat enhancement, fishing and boating access, education, and invasive species eradication.

Every 5 years the Service sponsors the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. In 2001, the survey found that:

  • over 34 million people fished;

  • approximately 28.4 million anglers enjoyed freshwater fishing while 9.1 enjoyed saltwater fishing

  • anglers fished 16 days, on average, and spent an average of $1,046 on their sport;

  • overall, anglers spent $14.7 billion on fishing trips in 2001 and $17 billion on equipment

The next National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation will be completed in 2007. It is abundantly clear that fishing has, and continues to have, an incredible influence on managing for clean water, healthy aquatic habitats, healthy fisheries populations, and abundant and quality angling opportunities. We encourage you to spend some time on the water enticing the fish that inhabit the watershed that you live in.


Fishing at Bosque del Apache NWR. Credit: George GentryPhoto of a man holding a  gulf sturgeon.Photo of Alamosamonte Vista NWR., Credit USFWS
Photos Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service


You're invited to go fishing on many of the lands and waters managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and to get answers to two of the most common questions we are asked:

Fishing Resource Links

Where Can I Go Fishing on a National Wildlife Refuge?

What Is the National Fish Hatchery System?