Trout fishing is among WNC’s largest industries; Impact of $1.38 billion

Trout fishing is among WNC’s largest industries;  Impact of $1.38 billion

Members of the fly fishing community gathered in Bryson City for the Southern Appalachian Fly Fishing Museum's sixth annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2021.

ASHEVILLE — When you think of some of the multi-billion-dollar industries in Western North Carolina, national parks, beer and hospitality might come to mind.

But add something else to the list: mountain trout.

A recently published economic report from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission estimated that the mountain’s carnivorous freshwater fish — and the anglers who go out to catch them — generate more than $1.38 billion across North Carolina.

NCWRC staff at the Bobby N. Setzer State Fish Hatchery weigh and load trout for transport to the Armstrong Fish Hatchery.

The last economic report was released in 2015 and only projected a $383 million impact from fishermen in the region – which in 2022 represents a 260% increase in seven years.

“We took a very comprehensive approach to this study. We wanted to better understand how anglers use the trout waters we manage and the perspectives of anglers themselves on fishing for trout,” Jake Rush, coldwater fisheries research coordinator, said in the Wildlife Commission news release. Trout.” “Understanding anglers’ motivations and perceptions provides a broader view of this popular sport in North Carolina.”

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