Can Fishing Save Money? Is it Cheaper Than Just Buying Food?


Like most people, I try and save money when and where I can. So, I thought I would see if I could do that buy fishing and using that as my dinner on some nights, and here is what I found.

So does fishing save money, and is it cheaper than buying food? If you go out and fish frequently, you will end up spending less on food that week than if you just went to the store and got fish for your dinner, so it does end up saving money. Also, the fish you catch is fresh, not processed, and comes from a healthy pastime, which is awesome.

With the time that it takes and money on rods, bait, maybe even a boat, it can be a big debate though. all those expenses add up, but so does spending money in the grocery store.

There are ways to fish, eat well, and live on a budget; even without a boat and fancy equipment, you can still catch nice fish and save a ton of money.

Saving Money by Fishing

Some people might think, “of course it’s cheaper. You pay for fish in the store and if you get it out of the water, it’s free! It’s yours now.” But there’s a little more to it than that. A rod isn’t free. Neither is bait, or hooks, or line, or a net, or more bait.

Sometimes to get access to a river or lake isn’t free. Occasionally there are fees to go to a park or something where people might fish and that might be the only place they can fish.

I live in Idaho and live close to the snake river, one of the best places to fish in all of America, so I don’t tend to have that problem.

The truth is you don’t need a fancy rod or super nice bait. Even when you are fishing for a nicer fish like salmon, the simple things and equipment work just fine. I would consider a rod and line an investment.

Roughly, the average price for tilapia or catfish is around $4.99/lb. If you like fish you will get fish maybe once every other week or so, if not more is my guess. so if you fish and catch even 3 or 4 fish, you are right there saving $20 easy.

Yes, after the cost of bait maybe it’s closer to $15 or so. But even that is an awesome saving! I’m going out, doing something I enjoy and would have probably done anyways, and instead of it costing me $5, I’m saving $15.

If you don’t enjoy fishing and would way rather be spending your time doing something else, then maybe the $15 isn’t worth it to you. Doesn’t mean that it isn’t saving you money, but maybe your time is more valuable to you, which is totally okay! But the more you fish, the more you save.

I know that in the off seasons I don’t eat nearly as much fish, because I feel like I can’t afford it as much. Not necessarily financially, but when I sit back and think “how can I pay for this when I know that in a couple of months I can do this for fun and for free?”

That’s when I go back to chicken or ground beef.

I will admit, there are days when I have gone out and didn’t catch anything and was pretty bummed. Didn’t bring dinner home for tonight or future nights. But there have also been days where I was able to catch about 7 Salmon (a more expensive fish) and I was loving life, having a good time, and saving a ton of money in the meantime.

If your time is more valuable to you than saving some money on fish, you don’t like fish or fishing or are too busy, then it’s not a big deal. However, if you like to fish or want to get into it and want to save some money in the process, it’s an awesome and fun way to save some cash. Not to mention have a good time in the process.

If you are on a tight budget, don’t have time and don’t really like to fish, then maybe stick to the chicken and rice. It is still really cheap and good for you. If you just can’t live without some good tilapia, then I would suggest grabbing a friend that maybe has some equipment and see if you can tag along with them one day.

If you are on a tight budget, don’t have time and don’t really like to fish, then maybe stick to the chicken and rice.

Maybe after you save some money on groceries you can invest in your own rod and go out on your own. I think most people find that it is a hobby that they enjoy, and while they are at it they are able to save a few bucks here and there, which is always nice.

A tip I would add is to not rely on fishing for your only source of food. There will for sure be days where its dry and you won’t catch anything. If you are stranded on an island and that is the only source of food, well that is a little bit of a different story.

When It Is Okay To Use The Fish You Catch For Food

Every type of fish and every state is different on its regulations for what a fish qualifies for in order to keep and not to be a catch and release type of fish. Make sure to always check this before you keep the fish thinking you will have a great dinner that night because it could be illegal.

Typically it’s around 20 -30CM, but as I said, every type of fish and each state have different laws regarding when it’s okay to eat what you catch.

Check out the state laws by a simple google search or visiting the state’s website. A lot of the time they will have the fish and game laws and regulations that you can look up quickly.

Is It Worth It?

Depending on who asks, fishing can either be totally worth the savings or not worth it at all. I have found that if you like to fish, it is 100% worth it because you are doing something you actually enjoy.

Some people don’t like to fish, really like their job, and make way more money than they would if they took the time to go fish; and in that case no not worth it at all.

Go to your 9-5 that you love and make good money at, and leave the fish for those that love it. It can be a lot of work to catch, clean, cut, clean again, and cook the fish through.

I personally enjoy it and think it is a worthwhile skill, but that’s just me!

Related Questions

What are other ways to save money with groceries? To save money on groceries, go shopping on a full stomach. If you’re particularly busy, stick with frozen veggies instead of fresh ones. Planning your meals ahead of time for the entire week can really help. Try going grocery shopping only once a week. All of this will help save money.

Does hunting save money? Cost per pound for beef is roughly $6, depending on the cut and everything. All in all, (if shot) 120 pounds worth of meat it would cost you roughly $225: $50 for a hunting license, $25 for ammunition, and $150 for a butcher to cut and package it up. Even after all that is taken into consideration, you are looking at roughly $445 of savings.

Tim Butala

My name is Tim and I have been a fisherman my whole life. My favorite fish to go after is a Stripped Bass.

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