While studies on recreational angler usage have provided valuable information to fisheries managers, questions still remain regarding the timing and partitioning of angler catch and harvest. This study used vehicle license plate data to define the patterns of post-stocking catch and harvest by unique angling parties on two small lakes managed by put-and-take rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss stockings during three summer months as part of a creel census when every angling party was interviewed and every fish harvested recorded. A total of 1,077 trout were harvested, with 2.4% of the angling parties (25 vehicles) accounting for over 45% of the total harvest. The same 25 vehicles accounted for 32.1% of the overall catch. Over 85% of harvest in both lakes occurred within the first three weeks following stocking, with appreciable drops in harvest by the fourth week. The potentially-high impact of relatively few anglers on overall harvest numbers and the relatively short timeframe in which harvest occurs following stockings have implications for fisheries managers attempting to maximize angler satisfaction in small put-and-take fisheries.
Jeremy L. Kientz, Michael E. Barnes and Dan J. Durben