Using an Angler Creel Survey to Supplement a Stocked Trout Fishery Evaluation in a North Carolina Reservoir

Creel surveys are a common method for collecting information from anglers, and when biological data are sparse, can provide needed data to help biologists evaluate fisheries. For instance, only 272 trout were collected in gill-net and electrofishing samples conducted annually from 2012-2015 to evaluate an experimental trout fishery in Apalachia Reservoir, North Carolina. Thus, we conducted a 12-mo, non-uniform probability creel survey to determine the return of stocked trout to anglers. Because the impoundment had a remote location, we utilized game cameras at two boating access areas to improve our estimates of angler effort. A total of 1535 parties were observed on cameras and 250 were interviewed by creel clerks. Boat anglers expended an estimated 14,410 angler-h (SE=528) or 32.4 angler-h ha?1 of total fishing effort, with an estimated 3447 angler-h (SE=643) directed at trout. An estimated total of 2059 (SE=704) trout were caught, with 60% (1237; SE=419) being brown trout (Salmo trutta), and the balance being rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss; 822; SE=293). Trout catch rates were highest in the months immediately following stocking (1.22 fish h?1; SE=0.45), and the majority of brown trout (76%) and rainbow trout (97%) examined were from the previous year's (2014) stocking. In addition, length-frequency data obtained from the creel survey allowed further evaluation of the performance of stocked trout. Ninety-four percent of trout over 500 mm TL were brown trout. These creel data supplemented limited biological information collected using conventional gears and allowed us to develop recommendations to better meet our management goals for the fishery

Publication date
Starting page
Ending page