Examining the Relationship between Species Preference and Catfish Angler Demographics, Angling Behavior, and Management Opinions

In 2002, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) conducted a statewide survey of licensed anglers in Missouri who fished for catfish during 2001 to gain information on angler demographics, species preferences, angling behavior, and angler opinions on catfish management. Catfish anglers were grouped by the species of catfish (flathead catfish Pylodictis olivaris, channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus, blue catfish I. furcatus, or bullhead catfish Ameiurus spp.) they preferred to fish for, and differences among preference groups related to demographics, angling behavior, and opinions on catfish management were examined. Results indicated that while catfish anglers in Missouri are a diverse group, and their preferences, opinions, and behaviors differed depending on species preference of the anglers, Missouri catfish angler groups were more similar compared to catfish angler groups in other states. Most differences in Missouri catfish anglers were between anglers who preferred to fish for flathead and blue catfish compared to those anglers who preferred to fish for channel and bullhead catfish. These differences were likely related to maximum size potential of flathead and blue catfish compared with channel and bullhead catfish. Identifying and recognizing these differences among catfish anglers will assist managers in understanding the diversity among catfish anglers and will assist them in making more informed management decisions that better serve this diverse angling group.

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