AFFTA releases Fly Fishing Industry Data


New Fly Fishing Industry Data

Day one of the International Fly Tackle Dealer Expo in Reno was highlighted by AFFTA’s release of some valuable data on the fly fishing industry.  The “Survey of U.S. Fly Fishing Retailers” was prepared by Southwick Associates, Inc., and it gives us a clearer picture of the state of the market than we have had in many years.

Among the highlights:

The total sales of small to medium retail stores is estimated at $748.6 million annually (excluding sales of large national chains like Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops).

Sales percentages by season are:  January-March, 15.2%;  April-June, 29.7%; July-September, 36.3%; and October-December 18.7 percent.

Sales by region of the country indicated that the Rocky Mountains are strongest at 31.5%.  The West is 25.8%; South is 23.7%; Northeast is 10.9%; and North Central is 8.1%.

The national average for shop sales is $314,789 annually; while the West led with the highest regional average of $431,294.

Traditional (brick and mortar) in-store sales are the leading channel, accounting for 83.3% of total sales.  Internet sales ranked second at 13.1%, and mail order catalogs accounted for 3.6%.

In terms of product, flies accounted for the most revenue nationally at 11%, though the percentages of sales are fairly balanced across a wide range of offerings.  Other notable categories were rods at 8.3%, reels at 6.4%, lines at 4.9%, tippet and leader 5.6%, waders are 4.5%, fly tying materials 7.8%, and soft goods (apparel) accounts for 5.8% (though there are other soft goods categories as well, like vests, packs, etc.  Guided trips account for 12.8% in terms of gross sales (not just retailer margin).

The number of fly anglers is estimated (based on U.S. Fish & Wildlife data) at 3.83 million.

Angling Trade will report more on this data in coming issues.  For more information, please contact AFFTA at



  1. So each of the 3.83 million fly anglers in the US spends, on average, $200 bucks a year? Something tells me I’m picking up somebody else’s slack. 😉

    These are incredibly valuable stats, guys. Thanks, as always, for the report.

  2. I know that getting statistics right is always difficult however noting “bricks and mortar” -v- online…was or has then been any separation from the shops with little or no online presence to those that have a massive online global presence and based in the USA? I could name a few but most of us would probably already be thinking of a few…it would be perhaps more interesting and accurate to segment out the “bricks and mortar” shops that did perhaps 80% of their house business online from those that relied on direct and in-store sales.

    As always…thanks for helping keeping us all informed.

  3. Bill Deeter on

    As pointed out above, this is good information. The trick now is finding ways to put it to best use. More often that not, excellent research goes no further than the office file cabinet, That has always struck me as a terrible waste of time and talent not to mention being a missed opportunity.

    Everyone wins when people ban together to put research findings to good use. Who is willing to step forward to take the leadand do something with what you have just learned?

    • I am 2 weeks on the market with a upstart Flyfishing company so this stuff is just what I was looking for! Thanks and check out the new product at

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  6. joyce maina on

    your services are a kenyan making high quality flies may i be supplying you with them please.

  7. This is fantastic information and makes me want more. You have retail sales and guide services noted, what about lodging, meals, transportation, boat rentals, and all the extra expenditures a week long fishing trip can consume. How far will fishermen/women travel for the experience? Thanks again!

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