Evaluation Of The Trout Fishery In The Tailwater Of Bull Shoals Reservoir, Arkansas, 1971-73

The fishery for rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) in the Bull Shoals tailwater has developed as a seasonal boat fishery which in peak years provides more than 250,000 angler days of fishing, and a catch of more than 750,000 trout. Use was concentrated along the upstream one-third (48 km) of the tailwater in 1971-73, where about 60 percent ot the total fisherman effort, 50 percent of the catch, and 75 peroent of the total guided fishing occurred. Since many anglers traveled long distances, rented boats and motors, and employed guides to fish the tailwater, the economic value of the fishery was high. As in most fisheries in cold tailwaters in the South, erratic patterns of water release strongly influenced fisherman use and harvest. During 1971 and 1972, y,ears of below average water release, fishermen caught about 95 percent of the trout stocked. Sustained high water releases at Bull Shoals Dam in 1973 were associated with marked reductions in angling effort and in numbers of fish caught/hr, but with only a slight reduction in the weight of fish harvested/hr. Regression equations are presented to describe relations between angling activity and patterns of water release over a wide range of flows.

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