Get Started Fishing

Gateway to the great outdoors

If you’ve ever been fishing, you’re in good company: nearly 50 million people go fishing each year. What is about this pastime that keeps people of all ages and skill levels going back to the water time and time again? Simply put, it’s a great way to unwind with family and friends while connecting with the great outdoors.

Fishing is easy to learn, and can be a gateway to other outdoor activities like camping or hunting. Whether you’re a first-time angler or someone who hasn’t fished in years, a few simple steps can help you get started.

Portrait of cheerful senior man fishing

Long-Standing Tradition

If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.
– Zane Grey

The act of fishing dates back hundreds of thousands of years. From man’s early hunter-gather days to modern times, people have long been drawn to the lure of sportfishing. Fishing is a great equalizer between people from all walks of life: from U.S. Presidents George Washington and Jimmy Carter to authors Ernest Hemingway and Zane Grey, many of history’s most famous figures have been drawn to the water.

Begin with the Basics

Before embarking on your fishing adventure, take some time to plan for success. It’s important to remember you’ll need a fishing license for the state you plan to go fishing in, and to familiarize yourself with the fishing laws or regulations for the species you plan to catch. Lastly, selecting proper tackle and learning how to release your catch contributes to sustainable fishing efforts upheld by any genuine angler. Use the resources below to get started.


Get Started



Where to Fish

Get Started

How to Get Started Fishing in 10 Simple Steps Provided by Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation

There is no better time than the present to get started fishing. With just a few pieces of basic gear, you'll be reeling in fish and making memories in no time.

Read the Article ›


Free Learn to Fish E-Course Provided by International Game Fish Association

Available to the public at no charge, the IGFA's Intro to Fishing course offers an immersive curriculum covering angling basics and safety, aquatic and marine biology, fish anatomy, environmental stewardship, and more!

Take the Course ›


Get Your Fishing License Online Provided by Take Me Fishing™

Get your fishing license today using this tool. Click on a state to find out everything you need to know about fishing licenses. A fishing license is one of the most important items any angler needs before they go fishing– every purchase helps protect, preserve and enhance the sport of fishing today and for generations to come.

Where to Fish

Places to Fish & Boat Map Provided by Take Me Fishing™

Side view portrait of father and son sitting together on rocks fishing with rods in calm lake waters with landscape of setting sun, both wearing checkered shirts, shot from behind tree


Nearly nine in ten Americans say outdoor recreation benefits the environment because it gives people a reason to care about the resources upon which their pastimes depend. However, fewer than 10 percent of recreational anglers and boaters realize that by participating in the sport, they are playing a vital role in sustaining the very resources they enjoy. Since 1952, anglers and boaters have contributed $30.5 billion to wildlife and conservation. On average, 83 percent of state fish and wildlife agencies' total freshwater fisheries/aquatic resource management budget is supported by fishing license sales, motorboat fuel taxes, and special excise taxes on tackle and equipment. These funds also support boater education and safety programs around the country.

Fishing Facts

  • Through the purchase of fishing licenses, coupled with excise taxes on fishing-related items like rods, reels, lures, electric trolling motors and motorboat fuel, anglers have contributed $30.5 billion to sport fish restoration programs since 1952.
  • More than 49 million Americans six years of age and older enjoy fishing at least once every year.
  • American anglers go on 18 fishing trips per year, on average.
  • More than 82% of current adult participants were introduced to fishing during childhood.
  • Participants who grew up fishing have positive memories of the activity, spending time outdoors with family and friends.
  • Connecting youth to fishing will ensure that our nation’s waterways are protected, our communities are healthy and our industry is thriving.
  • 78% of fishing participants also participate in other outdoor activities.
  • American anglers cite getting exercise, spending time with family and friends, and connecting with nature as the top three reasons they go fishing.

NSSF Report: Target Shooting in America 2018