Natural Resources, School of


First Advisor

Kevin L. Pope

Date of this Version



A thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Science

Major: Natural Resource Sciences

Under the Supervision of Professor Kevin L. Pope Lincoln, Nebraska December 2023


Copyright 2023, Kyle F. Hansen


Recreational fishing is one of the world's most popular pastimes, wherein participation is associated with sociodemographic factors. Even so, fishing license sales are declining in the USA in conjunction with a reduction in rural populations as people move to urban areas. Thus, urban areas are constantly growing in population size, population diversity, and geographic size suggesting a need to understand fishing participation in these growing areas. Natural resource managers often use participation to understand recreationists, yet avidity could provide a new way to understand recreationists. The goal of our study is to understand what sociodemographic factors influence the fishing avidity of urban anglers and what relationships exist between fishing avidity and other recreational-activity avidities of anglers who reside in urban environments. Specifically, we asked: 1) do Esri Demographics’ urbanization groups better predict fishing avidity of anglers within an urban setting than sociodemographic factors typically gathered in surveys, and 2) what relationships (positive and negative) exist among avidities of recreational activities for fishing-license holders within an urban environment? We created generalized linear models and used an information theoretic approach to evaluate influences of sociodemographic factors on fishing avidity, and we used Principal Component Analysis to evaluate relationships among avidities of iii recreational activities. We sent the 2020 Omaha Recreation Survey to a random subset population of 2019 fishing-license holders that resided within the four urbanization groups of Omaha, Nebraska, as designated by Esri Demographics. We determined that Esri Demographics’ urbanization groups did not predict fishing avidity better than a priori models of common sociodemographic factors. We report a weighted average model of sociodemographic factors (i.e., employment, sex, household size, household gross income, education, R3 retained, R3 reactivated, day license holder, multi-year license holder, additional fishing members in the household, and age) to predict fishing avidity for individuals residing in urban environments. No recreational-activity avidity has a strong negative relationship with fishing avidity. Recreational fishing avidity has strong positive relationships with avidities of ice fishing, hunting, and golf. Our study provides new understanding of how urban anglers recreate in urban environments throughout the USA, which could aid management agencies with development of avidity thresholds to categorize anglers, explore opportunities for co-development of recreational activities for anglers, and identify targets of fishing effort.

Advisor: Dr. Kevin L. Pope