Integrated assessment of the economic value of Lake Michigan recreational fishing in Illinois: A mixed methods approach

Major Goals and Objectives

This study aimed to estimate the total economic impact of recreational fishing in the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan, compare expenditure estimates from the creel survey with those from a mail and internet survey, and assess the economic impact of several fisheries within the Illinois and Indiana Lake Michigan fishery.

Accomplishments / Benefits

Story: Lake Michigan anglers boost local Illinois and Indiana economies


economics, fisheries, human dimensions, recreational fishing, surveys

Lay Summary

While fishing is personally important to many people, it can be hard to describe that importance without a numerical value. We know Lake Michigan fishing is important to the Illinois economy, so we wanted to come up with a numerical estimate of that importance. First, we talked to people while they were fishing on Lake Michigan and asked if they would take our survey. If they agreed, we sent them the survey over mail or email. On the survey, they filled out how much they usually spend on a variety of items when they go fishing. We determined that in 2015, people spent $26,128,296 on Lake Michigan fishing trips in Illinois. People who fished from a boat spent an average of $226 per trip, and people who fished from the shore spent an average of $54 per trip.Using an economic analysis software, we determined that fishing trip spending generated 231 jobs and $1,713,301 in state and local taxes in Cook County and Lake County. We combined the data from people fishing in Illinois with data from people fishing in Indiana and estimated that the total contribution to the local economy in both states was $44,431,774. The economic value of Lake Michigan fishing shows the importance of this activity to people directly involved with fishing and to people in the local community who don’t necessarily go fishing. These results can be used as support for research about Lake Michigan fishing and to predict the broad effect that any fishing changes may cause.


Purdue University

Undergraduates / Graduates

Elizabeth J. Golebie
Thesis: Angler satisfaction and management preferences at the southern Lake Michigan Fishery
M.S. Natural Resources and Environmental Science 2017 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Information

Principal Investigator:
Sergiusz Czesny
Initiation Date:
Completion Date:
Illinois Natural History Survey


Sergiusz Czesny
Craig Miller
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