Fishing has $28 million annual impact in Orleans County

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 January 2020 at 4:48 pm

File photos by Tom Rivers: Anglers fish at the Oak Orchard River at St. Mary’s Archer’s Club in Carlton. The Archer’s Club has an annual fly fishing tournament that draws many out-of-state fishermen.

Fishing is big business in Orleans County, according to a new survey by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The total economic impact from fishing in Orleans added up to $27,989,393 in 2017, according to survey results announced today by the DEC. (Oswego was the highest-ranked county with $192.7 million in total economic impact from fishing.)

Out-of-state anglers account for 70 percent of the fishing economic output in Orleans County, $19,620,488 of the $27,989,393. County residents who fish accounted for $1,767,334 in economic activity while other New York state residents outside Orleans represented another $6,601,571.

“The $28 million for a little county like us is huge,” said Dawn Borchet, the county’s tourism director. “I knew this has always been Orleans County number 1 attraction.”

She attends many sportsfishing shows to promote the fishery.

“It’s all good numbers,” she said about the report.

She noted the survey was done in 2017 during a year of flooding from Lake Ontario. The high waters resulted in a lot of bad PR, which likely kept some anglers away, she said.

Julie Schaeffer and her husband Mike hold Julie’s 29-pound, 6-ounce Chinook salmon which won the $4,000 grand prize in 2019 Rotary Fishing Derby. They are pictured on Aug. 18, 2019. The Schaeffers are from Sligo, Pa., and have been fishing in the derby since the 1980s.

The survey breaks the economic benefits into $23,207,903 in direct economic activity, $3,719,674 in indirect effects, and another $1,061,817 in induced effects.

The direct effects result from the home-based and location-specific spending by anglers on each fishing trip – fishing tackle, camping equipment, lodging, groceries and restaurants.

Indirect effects represent subsequent rounds of money spent among local businesses based on the direct effects – the impact of local industries buying goods and services from other local industries.

The last effect, the induced effect, includes all money spent by the employees who receive salaries and benefits from jobs created by angler expenditures and local businesses on purchases such as those from retail clothing stores, restaurants and other local businesses.

The report also says anglers generated $5,110,762 in local and state tax revenue ion 2017 with $3,588,672 from out-of-state fishermen, $1,187,630 from state (non-county) residents and another $334,460 from Orleans County residents. The anglers combined also accounted for $1,159,206 in federal tax revenues.

The mean distance traveled to fish in Orleans County was 154.4 miles. The survey shows that 62 percent said they are satisfied with their fishing in the county.

The report also ranks which species of fish the anglers were primarily trying to catch. The survey reports that 23 percent said they were primarily fishing in Orleans County for Chinook salmon, with 20 percent saying were after brown trout. Another 18 percent said largemouth bass were their primary target and 14 percent said steelhead/rainbow trout.

The DEC does the angler survey every 10 years. It contacts people with valid freshwater fishing licenses in 2017, and does the survey online or by mail.

Combined direct, indirect, and induced economic impacts of freshwater angling in New York State totaled an estimated $2.14 billion and supported 10,961 jobs in 2017. Of this total, out-of-state anglers contributed approximately 26 percent, or $564 million.

Freshwater anglers spent an estimated $252 million at New York fishing destinations in 2017, and an additional $204 million was expended at home or while traveling to fishing destinations. Purchases of fishing equipment and fishing-related equipment such as boats, motors, etc., generated an estimated $1.8 billion in additional expenditures, the DEC said.

The DEC measured the at-location expenditures by fishermen and Orleans was ranked 15th out of 62 counties.

Here are the top 20 counties for at-location expenditures by anglers

  1. Oswego, $32.61 million
  2. Jefferson, $18.41 million
  3. Delaware, $13.46 million
  4. Warren, $11.72 million
  5. Niagara, $11.67 million
  6. Essex, $11.39 million
  7. Chautauqua, $9.69 million
  8. St. Lawrence, $9.32 million
  9. Sullivan, $9.24 million
  10. Franklin, $9.12 million
  11. Monroe, $6.61 million
  12. Erie, $6.35 million
  13. Hamilton, $6.08 million
  14. Wayne, $5.68 million
  15. Orleans, $4.98 million
  16. Clinton, $4.69 million
  17. Yates, $4.01 million
  18. Cayuga, $3.81 million
  19. Oneida, $3.75 million
  20. Ulster, $3.11 million

Source: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

(Click here to see the full fishing survey results from the DEC.)

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