Recently Tongariro anglers have used TRM blog to be critical of Councils’ neglect in promoting trout fishing.
They claim it has been treated as a ‘minor’ recreational sport (i.e. not worthy of promotion?) for far too long. If you visit any of their offices you might understand too. Usually their PR positions are filled by lovely young ladies who don’t fish so they have no grasp of why the most important group of tourists visit so often to stay in the Taupo region.. Looking for proof? Last year the Taupo/Turangi tourist office promoted weddings? The last time the Council featured trout fishing was 1995… Then they wonder why Taupo fishing licence sales have fallen by half in the last 15 years? You don’t have to be a scientist…
The foundation stone of the tourist industry in Taupo and Turangi was built on trout fishing. It is still the biggest tourist attractor for the Taupo region. Now all these other modern ‘sexy’ attractions have arrived – bungy jumping, jet boats, mountain biking, etc. the importance of trout fishing appears to have diminished and almost forgotten about by those in charge of the promotional budgets..
It must be the only industry in NZ that generates over $29 Million p.a. for the region without any marketing or promotional programme. That $29M figure is from DOC’s own 2013 comprehensive survey of the fishery. That alone confirms how important it is to the Taupo-Turangi-Tongariro region. Note that this was after the fishing licence sales had fallen by half due to neglect by Council and DOC in providing a budget for promotion. For a little country where tourism is now the biggest industry it is incomprehensible for such an opportunity to be wasted. To imagine what it could have been we need to compare USA.
So let’s compare North America. Why? This is the type market (together with Australia) that Taupo tourism should be aiming at. (Instead the Taupo Mayor goes to China!) The quality of the trout fishing experience is better than anywhere in USA. i.e. The Tongariro alone offers all year round fly fishing for wild trout at a price of less than half what it would cost in USA. Just compare the $$$ exchange rate. In a motel we hear this every week from departing international anglers but Council appear unaware of the potential advantages this region offers. The anglers from overseas cannot understand why it has not been promoted more effectively.
In Canada everyone is a fishermen so we will restrict it to USA. There are as many anglers in USA as the population of NZ!!! The potential market is better than anything offered by China… Why? Anglers stay longer, spend more and return again and again.
10am Update: Interesting comment received from a TRM inmate:
Hi Ross, Taupo isn’t the only area lacking fishing promotion. Today’s Auckland Herald features features a supplement all about Rotorua and apart from a couple of pictures of the landing at Tarawera and the Blue Lake there is not a mention of trout fishing whatsoever -typical. I suppose there is another way of looking at it – less pressure for me. Cheers
Pinched from New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers blog:
A recent report by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association pegs the number at right around 4.5 million. To arrive at that number, researchers looked at U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service data and factored in fishing license sales, which increased 5.8 percent between 2011 and 2015.
It’s really important to note, however, that that 4.5-million figure includes people who fish only once in a given year. Sure, there are people who consider themselves fly fishermen and fisherwomen who didn’t fish at all last year, so that number could balloon even higher—and it does depending on the source you look at. I’ve seen the number of fly anglers in America pegged as high as 6 to 10 million.
But before you go rushing off to start your new fly-fishing e-zine, publish a fly-fishing book that’s going to make you millions, or start a rod or reel company to tap into this booming market, here’s your reality check:
Through Angling Trade talked with the major companies that sell products in fly fishing—companies such as Far Bank Enterprises (parent of Sage, Redington, and RIO), Orvis, and Simms—we know that the major players actually peg the number of fly angler consumers to be somewhere between one million and 1.5 million, or maybe a bit more.
The point is that there are really two types of fly anglers: There are dabblers who may have bought a license and gone fly fishing, then there are the aficionados, who actively fish several times a year or more.
The aficionados actually buy gear, such as rods, reels, lines, and flies. They are media consumers (most of you reading this are aficionados, probably), members of conservation organizations, and so on. Dabblers can make people money (like guides), but they’re typically not big spenders. The spenders actually shell out about $700 million a year on product, which is how we know there aren’t many more than one million to 1.5 million. Otherwise, that dollar amount would be a lot higher, the thinking goes.
This leads us to an interesting question that’s starting to get more and more attention as we assess the true health of the market. I used to be one of those who felt that recruiting new people to fly fishing was really important. The more who fish, the more who care about rivers and want to protect them. The more consumers, the better the product development. I’m willing to give up a little space in the river for a broader contingent of anglers with shared ideals and so forth. Makes the sport healthier, or so the logic goes.
Now, however, I am wondering if the focus on the total number of participants is actually a detriment to the number that matters most. Does a boom in dabblers actually affect a decline in aficionados? There’s no gentle way to say it: Are we losing conservation donations, and product sales because some of our rivers are choked with people who really don’t get fly fishing, don’t care about it, and aren’t coming back any time soon? Sure, a boom in dabblers is good for some guides, but is it good for anyone else? I fully understand you have to start somewhere, and you can’t become an aficionado unless the pilot light gets lit.
But I’d say until we get a real firm grip on whether or not the number of serious anglers is growing or shrinking, and, more specifically, what the relationship really is between dabblers and aficionados, we won’t have a real, honest assessment of the size, or, more important, the health, of fly fishing in America.
There’s no gentle way to say it: Is there any money in one-day, pay-to-play angling for anyone but guides and outfitters?
The manufacturers in this market are sharp enough to tune into that. And this year, I’m seeing a shift in product development that clearly indicates how manufacturers are focusing on the “base.” In 2017, you’re going to see more high-end rods, reels, and performance outerwear with very specific applications. You’re also going to see more reasonably priced product that rifle shoots toward specific growth segments in the market, particularly women anglers and youth anglers. Some examples: Orvis is coming out with a high-end, made-in-America reel that’s probably the most premium model it has marketed in years, with a price point north of $600. But the company is also going to balance that with a lower-price-point model. You’re going to see Simms make its first foray into down insulation, but you’ll also see Simms make a strong push with a new wader line that costs less than “pro” models do but still more ($300) than what people will spend for one day of fishing per year. Sage has a new rod to offer; I’m not ready to talk about it yet, because I’m still fishing it and forming opinions, but the first word that comes to mind is extraordinary.
Stay tuned, it’s going to be an interesting few months ahead.