Welcome to Florida’s new Freshwater Fisheries Blog Site hosted by Florida Sportsman and written by the folks at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Our intent in this blog is to provide you with a stream of useful information to enhance your enjoyment and understanding of our diverse and exceptional freshwater fishing opportunities.

Florida is the “Fishing Capital of the World” due to great resources and responsible management, and the numbers back up the claim. Southwick Associates published the “Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation, 2013” for the American Sportfishing Association. This report is based on a study done by the Census Bureau for the US Fish and Wildlife Agency every five years, which determines the value and amount of outdoor recreation in each of the 50 states, and is entitled “The 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.”

The latest report documented that Florida ranked #1 with 3.1 million anglers (#2 New York had 1.9 million), and total expenditures of $5 billion (#2 New York had $2.7 billion). Florida’s role as the fishing destination for travelers was also overwhelmingly reaffirmed, with 2 million non-resident anglers visiting the state (#2 Michigan had 347,000). The ripple effect of these dollars was an $8.7 billion economic impact that supported 80,211 jobs in Florida.

Specific to freshwater in 2011, Florida had 1.2 million anglers. They enjoyed 25.7 million days fishing (#2 Texas had 22.6 million), spending almost a billion dollars and generating an economic impact of $1.7 billion, which supported more than 14,000 jobs. Largemouth bass are the most popular recreational fish throughout North America, and in Florida 62 percent of the freshwater effort was dedicated to fishing for largemouth bass.

As a result, the FWC in 2009-10 worked with anglers (7,500 responses) and representatives of the fishing community including, tournament groups, outdoor writers, tackle manufacturers, bait-and-tackle shop owners, local tourism agencies and university scientists to create the long-term Black Bass Management Plan. The plan was adopted in June 2011, and one outcome was development of a new TrophyCatch angler recognition and reward program that began in Oct. 2012. Although the plan is science-informed, it is designed to integrate the needs and desires of anglers. As an example, the FWC is currently conducting a largemouth bass regulations review and wants your input.

Future blogs will be more focused on individual topics, but we wanted to take this opportunity to familiarize you with the scope of activities that we will be covering. We look forward to listening to your comments and becoming a useful resource for you.

About the Authors

Florida’s Freshwater Fishing Blog is brought to you by folks at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who are dedicated to managing your freshwater fish resources for their long-term well-being and the benefit of people like you. Reach them at Freshwater.Fisheries@MyFWC.com

  • John Cimbaro works in the southern part of the state. He authors the City Fisher Newsletter and will provide input on local fishing conditions and events.
  • KP Clements, the TrophyCatch Program Coordinator, will generate exciting updates on this angler recognition reward program.
  • Dustin Everitt works in central Florida and will be letting you know about conservation projects and fishing conditions there.
  • Justin Hill, the outreach coordinator for freshwater fisheries research, will write about the science behind fisheries management.
  • Rick Stout, Florida Bass Conservation Center Coordinator will inform you of stocking programs and their effects.
  • Bob Wattendorf, a fisheries scientist with over 30 years experience in Florida is author of the Fish Busters’ Bulletins and also serves on the boards of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association and Get Outdoors Florida. He will keep you informed about youth and adult outreach activities and happenings in Tallahassee that affect your fishing.

Together we’re here to provide answers about everything and anything to do with freshwater fisheries management, research and enjoyment in Florida.

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