Evaluation of put-and-take trout management, characteristics of angler populations, and economic evaluation of a community fishery
Miko, David Anthony
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In the winter of 1987, catchable-size rainbow trout (Onchorhynchus mykiss) were stocked into playa lakes in Lubbock, Texas, to provide year-round recreational fishing opportunities. The winter put-and-take rainbow trout fishery, when combined with the existing summer wannwater sport fishery, created two distinct, seasonal community fisheries. Stratified angler creel surveys were conducted over a 3-year period to determine the cost-effective stocking strategy of rainbow trout that provided the greatest angler benefit (catch rate, angler effort, return rate, harvest rate, fishing success, and angler satisfaction) from a minimum number of fish. Stratified angler creel surveys were also conducted in the winter and summer of 1990-1991 to characterize the angling populations utilizing the two community fisheries and to evaluate the economic value of the community fisheries. Three densities of catchable-size rainbow trout, low (700 trout/hectare), medium (1,400 trout/hectare), and high (2,100 trout/hectare), were evaluated. Angler effort and satisfaction increased with increased stocking densities. However, catch rates were greatest for the medium density treatment, followed by the high, and then low density treatment. The overall score of fishing success was less than "fair," while the overall score of angler satisfaction was less than "good" for all stocking densities. Analysis of demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the anglers utilizing the summer and winter fisheries indicate that there are two separate angler populations using the two distinct, seasonal community fisheries. Anglers utilizing the summer fishery were generally Caucasian males in their mid-30's, with 11 years of education. Anglers utilizing the winter fishery were generally Caucasian males in their 40's, with 12.5 years of education. Anglers utilizing the winter fishery were more aware of the regulations governing the winter fishery than summer anglers were of the regulations governing the summer fishery. Economic evaluation of the combined winter and summer fisheries resulted in a benefit-cost ratio of 8:1. The cost to maintain the community fishery in Lubbock was $17,447 during the summer and $17,946 during the winter. This includes the cost of stocking fish and the physical maintenance of the parks. The benefits provided by the community fishery was valued to be $170,776 during the summer and $112,523 during the winter. The winter fishery provided the greatest benefit per angler-day of fishing, but the summer fishery provided the greatest benefit-cost ratio.