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Calories Burned While Fishing

Fishing is an activity that can offer some extra movement. A popular question is how many calories you can burn while fishing.

This activity is certainly not the most intense option out there but it is just that little bit more active than just sitting down.

The average person can expect to burn around 103 – 178+ calories per 30 minutes of fishing at a general intensity. This number will vary from individual to individual due to a variety of factors.

For example, a 125-pound (56 kg) individual will burn around 103 calories while fishing at a general intensity for 30 minutes. On the other hand, a 215-pound (97 kg) individual will burn around 178 calories while fishing for the same duration at the same intensity.

These amounts are a welcome addition but to see a lot of fat loss progress you want to turn to other activities and lifestyle areas.

This article will also show you a more detailed chart that takes multiple factors into account, the comparison between different types and intensities of fishing, and more.

Biggest influences on calories burned

A fact that many people find annoying is that the number of calories you burn while doing something like fishing is hard to predict and measure correctly.

This fact can make things like weight loss feel like a guessing game when you are trying to balance these numbers with the calories in food.

Even so, good estimations for the number of calories burned while fishing can be a helpful starting point. By taking a few important factors into account you can make your estimations more accurate.

Some of the biggest factors that influence how many calories you burn while fishing include:

  • Weight: To move around your body needs energy, measured in calories. The more you weigh, the more energy your body needs to fuel its movements.
  • Body composition: Body composition is how much of your body weight is made up of different tissue. Two people can weigh the same but for one individual most of the weight can come from fat while the second individual has a lot of muscle. The reason that is important is that the same weight of muscle requires more energy than that weight in fat.
  • Intensity: If you’re looking at calories burned per minute of fishing this can vary during certain types of fishing by moving your body at a fast vs slow speed. Even between standing and sitting there is a difference.
  • Types of fishing: Different fishes, surfaces to stand on, and fishing tools all play a role in how many calories you burn. Some choices are better for this goal than others.

Estimations calories burned fishing

The centers for disease control and prevention simplifies the number of calories burned while fishing into between 3.5-7 calories per minute (1).

In reality, there are tools to make more precise estimations. To calculate calories burned during certain activities more specifically you can use a formula with MET values.

A MET value is an activity-specific value to indicate how intense a specific type of movement is. This number represents how many times more intense the activity is compared to sitting still.

You can use this in the following formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute

Estimations for METs while fish depend a lot on intensity and weight and vary from 1.8 at jog or line fishing (standing) to 7 at commercial fishing at a vigorous effort (2).

You can look at the number of calories burned while fishing from different perspectives. The first table will show estimations for the calories burned with the MET estimation of general fishing for different body weights and time intervals.

After that, you can find a chart comparing the number of calories burned for different fishing intensities and types.

Again, keep in mind that these are estimations. This formula doesn’t take into account certain important factors that do influence the number of calories burned while fishing.

To put these estimations into perspective, 100 grams of boiled potatoes contains about 87 calories (3).

Calories burned while fishing

One of the most convenient ways to see how many calories you burned while fishing is by looking at how much time you spent doing it.

Weight Person
1 Minute30 Minutes60 Minutes3 Hours5 Hours
125 Pounds (56 kg)3 calories103 calories207 calories620 calories1034 calories
155 Pounds (70 kg)4 calories128 calories256 calories769 calories1282 calories
185 Pounds (83 kg)5 calories153 calories306 calories918 calories1530 calories
215 Pounds (97 kg)6 calories178 calories356 calories1067 calories1778 calories
Chart of calories burned while fishing

Calories burned with types of fishing

Fishing is a wide category of different types and intensities. These activities will often burn different numbers of calories.

In the table below you can find estimations of calories burned with a few of these like ice fishing, crab fishing, fishing with your hands, etc. when doing the activity for 30 minutes.

Weight Person
Fishing Type
155 Pounds (70 kg)185 Pounds (83 kg)215 Pounds (97 kg)
Jog Or Line Fishing
66 calories79 calories91 calories
Ice Fishing73 calories87 calories102 calories
Fishing From Boat
Or Canoe (Sitting)
73 calories87 calories102 calories
Spear Fishing
84 calories101 calories117 calories
Fishing (General)128 calories153 calories178 calories
Retrieving Fish
With Dip Net
128 calories153 calories178 calories
River Bank Fishing
128 calories153 calories178 calories
Catching Fish
With Hands
146 calories175 calories203 calories
River Bank Fishing
146 calories175 calories203 calories
Digging Worms157 calories188 calories218 calories
Crab Fishing165 calories197 calories229 calories
Fishing In Stream220 calories262 calories305 calories
Commercial Fishing
(Vigorous Effort)
256 calories306 calories356 calories
Calories burned per 30 minutes during fishing types

Ways to burn more calories while fishing

The number of calories burned while fishing is certainly not something set in stone. There are a few ways you can increase this amount per time interval.

The challenge for most people is fitting in activities in their busy schedules. They want to burn as many calories in the least amount of time, which means burning more calories per minute of fishing.

If you do have more time, spending more time fishing will generally burn more calories. For some of the more intense fishing types, you want to make sure you avoid “overtraining”.

One way to burn more calories per minute during all types of fishing is to build some extra muscle mass outside of your fishing sessions with other exercises.

Besides that, you can also burn more calories while fishing by choosing more physically challenging fish, fishing tools, and fishing areas.

Can you lose weight from fishing?

Fishing is an activity that can help you burn a few extra calories. In combination with good habits in other lifestyle areas, this can then lead to weight loss.

A pound of body fat is about 3500 calories (one kg +-8000). How long it takes to see weight loss results from fishing will also depend on the number of calories in your diet.

One person might eat more than the other. This might make it so they need to exercise longer or more intensely to see the same weight loss results. You can even lose weight without exercising so there are many factors that influence it.

10 sessions of 30 minutes of fishing can help you burn an extra 1280 calories which are about 0.37 pounds of body fat. 30 sessions, 3840 calories (= +- 1.1 pounds of body fat), and so on…

Keep in mind that losing weight too fast can be suboptimal. In general, a 500 calorie deficit per day is considered to be a healthy weight loss rate.

Should you go fishing to burn calories?

As you can see, fishing is a light form of exercise that can burn a nice amount of calories. That being said, there are also plenty of other activities that can help you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.

You should likely see the number of calories burned while fishing as a nice benefit of this hobby (or job). Once you are done, you can turn to other activities to really start seeing results.

If calorie burning is your main goal and you regularly go fishing, implementing some exercises in your schedule specifically for building muscle can be helpful.

The extra muscle mass will help you burn more calories day in, day out, including during your fishing sessions.

Also keep in mind that the things you eat stay important no matter what movement routine you’re following. It’s hard to out-exercise a bad diet.


Matt Claes

Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.