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Fisherman holding an eastern brook trout. Photo by Chesapeake Bay Program, CC BY-NC 2.0.

Trout fishing demographics

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Greetings and welcome to the Southern Appalachian Creature Feature.

It turns out, North Carolina really is a serious trout fishing state.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recently published a demographic and economic analysis of trout fishing in the United States based on 2006 surveys. The result was pretty impressive for North Carolina, especially considering serious trout fishing brings to mind big rivers flowing down from Western mountains.

When it came to total number of days spent fishing for trout, North Carolina was number five in the nation – behind Colorado, California, New York and Pennsylvania, but well ahead of trout fishing powerhouses Montana and Idaho.

When it came to total number of people fishing for trout in a particular state, North Carolina was ninth in the nation with 257,000 trout anglers – the highest number in the south and only behind New York and Pennsylvania in the Eastern half of the nation.

While the report didn’t break out economic impact by state, nationwide trout fishing accounted for nearly $5 billion in direct expenditures, which had a $13.5 billion ripple effect on the economy. Considering Southern Appalachia is a national center for trout fishing, it would behoove us all, but especially the small communities that are gateways to prime trout streams, to work to get as large a slice of that $13.5 billion pie as possible. That means not only luring people here to fish, but also protecting the important streams that draw anglers in.

For WNCW and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, this is Gary Peeples.

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