North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

North Carolina Trout Anglers Contribute Significantly to Economy

RALEIGH, N.C. (Aug. 12, 2009) –Trout fishing opportunities provided and managed by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission have a substantial positive impact to the local economies of western North Carolina and to the state as a whole, according to a recent study conducted by Responsive Management and Southwick Associates.  

The study, “The Economic Impacts of Mountain Trout Fishing in North Carolina,” found that nearly 93,000 anglers fishing in North Carolina spent an estimated $146 million on mountain trout fishing trips and equipment in 2008. When the secondary (multiplier) effects of these dollars spent were factored in, the total economic output of the Commission’s trout management program in North Carolina exceeded $174 million.

Money spent on mountain trout fishing in 2008 supported a total of 1,997 jobs and provided an estimated $56 million in income, much of it to workers in western North Carolina.

From late March through early April, Responsive Management, a firm specializing in natural resource and outdoor recreation issues, conducted a telephone survey of 1,232 randomly selected licensed anglers 18 years and older who fished for mountain trout in 2008.  Southwick Associates developed the economic models.

The survey was funded by the Commission under the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration program.

Survey respondents answered questions pertaining to fishing trip and equipment expenditures, numbers of days fished and types of streams fished.

An estimated 92,765 resident and non-resident anglers fished for trout 1.42 million days in North Carolina in 2008, with Transylvania, Watauga, Haywood, Cherokee, Henderson, Jackson and Ashe counties seeing the most fishing activity.

A typical resident trout angler fished nearly 10 days in 2008, spending $65 per day on trip expenses while a typical non-resident angler fished five days in 2008 and spent $158 per day on trip expenses. The average resident trout angler spent $502.92 per year on equipment.

Other survey findings included:

  • Hatchery supported waters were the most frequently fished waters (625,147 days), followed by wild trout waters (422,671 days); and delayed harvest waters (374,611 days).
  • Total economic impact of hatchery supported waters measured $72.7 million; $55.2 million for wild trout waters and $46.5 million for delayed harvest.

According to Doug Besler, the mountain region fisheries supervisor for the Commission, the agency funded the study to help quantify the economic impact of its trout management program on North Carolina’s economy. Survey results from this study, combined with results from an earlier angler opinion study, will be used to develop a comprehensive trout management plan, enhance public fishing opportunities, and market the agency’s angling opportunities to North Carolina residents and tourists alike.

“The economic impact of the trout management program can be a significant contributor to the expanding tourism and green-based economies of western North Carolina,” Besler said. “The Commission looks forward to pursuing collaborative opportunities to expand public fishing opportunities for trout fishing in western North Carolina.”