Abstract Patterns of change in angler participation and demographics were examined for the recreational Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. An analysis of a licence stub return system, 1994–2010, showed a significant decline in resident angler participation, but this was not consistent across all regions of the Province. Mean age of anglers increased significantly, varying from 39.0 years in 1994 to 46.5 years by 2010. In some regions, mean age rose by over 12 years since the mid-1990s, reflecting a decline in the recruitment of younger anglers. The return rate of angler logs also declined over time and was found to vary by age, sex and area of angler residence. Women and older anglers, and those living in specific rural areas had a greater tendency to return a record of their catch history than men and younger anglers. Identified changes in participation and demographics, which can affect exploitation and ultimately abundance, could be used to develop management measures that would maximise both harvest and socio-economic benefits to the varied users of the resource.