Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


Date of this Version



Fisheries, (37)10, (October 2012)


Declining participation in recreational angling is of great concern to fishery managers because fishing license sales are an important revenue source for protection of aquatic resources. This decline is frequently attributed, in part, to increased societal reliance on electronics. Internet use by anglers is increasing and fishery managers may use the Internet as a unique means to increase angler participation. We examined Internet search behavior using Google Insights for Search, a free online tool that summarizes Google searches from 2004 to 2011 to determine (1) trends in Internet search volume for general fishing-related terms and (2) the relative usefulness of terms related to angler recruitment programs across the United States. Though search volume declined for general fishing terms (e.g., fishing, fishing guide), search volume increased for social media and recruitment terms (e.g., fishing forum, family fishing) over the 7-year period. We encourage coordinators of recruitment programs to capitalize on anglers’ Internet usage by considering Internet search patterns when creating web-based information. Careful selection of terms used in web-based information to match those currently searched by potential anglers may help to direct traffic to state agency websites that support recruitment efforts.