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Freshwater Fishing

  • More than 38 million people freshwater fish annually in the U.S.
  • Freshwater catches include trout, catfish and bass.
  • Boats may be made of fiberglass or aluminum.

Freshwater fishing is one of the most popular forms of outdoor recreation in the country. In fact, about 12.9 percent of all Americans, or 38.1 million people, went freshwater fishing in 2016 (the latest year statistics are available for) according to the latest study produced by the Outdoor Foundation and the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. Though it may surprise some people to learn this, fishing overall was the second most popular outdoor activity in the entire country, topped only by running and jogging – beating out things like hiking, camping, and biking.

Why do people enjoy freshwater fishing so much? Top cited reasons include spending time with the family, experiencing a sense of adventure and excitement, and relaxing. Even “disconnecting from electronics” makes the top 10 list of reasons why people go freshwater fishing. And to anyone who’s tried freshwater fishing, these common answers are not surprising. Few things are as natural and as calming as floating around on a pond or lake in a freshwater fishing boat, right up until the moment a fish is on the line – and then a shot of adrenaline kicks in.

Freshwater fishing is also extremely popular because it’s an activity that can be enjoyed in virtually any part of the country. Ponds, lakes, rivers, and even streams have the potential to hold everything from rainbow trout to largemouth bass to catfish. You can enjoy freshwater fishing from boats as simple as canoes, or as luxurious as pontoon boats. And largemouth bass fishing in specific is so popular that an entire genre of boats, aptly called bass boats, have been developed to target this one single species.

Freshwater fishing can also be just as simple or just as complex as you’d like to make it. At one end of the scale people enjoy simply putting an earthworm on a hook, and dangling it in the water to catch bluegill. At the other end you’ll see high-tech marine electronics like sonar and GPS used to locate fish that are then targeted with high-tech rods and reels that cost hundreds of dollars. At both extremes and everywhere in between, however, those common threads we talked about earlier tie all forms of freshwater fishing together. Its one of the few activities out there that can be both relaxing and exciting, can be enjoyed by the entire family at the same time, and can give you a much-needed break from the stresses and distractions of the modern world.

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