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Monday, January 28 • 4:20pm - 4:40pm
(SYMPOSIA-01) Crappies in Ohio: Building a General Approach to Determining Regulation Success Based on Standard Fish Population Assessments and Angler Feedback

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AUTHORS: Joseph D. Conroy, Jeremy J. Pritt, Kevin S. Page, Stephen M. Tyszko, Richard D. Zweifel – Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife

ABSTRACT: Crappie harvest regulations seek to increase yield by allowing additional growth before anglers remove fish from the population.  Density-dependent slow growth, stunting, potential for overharvest, angler preferences for larger crappies, and angler preferences for regulations all present challenges to successfully managing crappie fisheries by using harvest regulations.  In Ohio, minimum length limits for harvest and daily bag limits have been used to regulate crappie populations since the early 1990s, with regulations enacted at more than 40 reservoirs by 2010.  The success of these regulations was assessed by examining changes in abundance (CPUE of age-2 crappies and older), growth (mean length at age 2), and size structure (PSD of harvestable-sized fish) from standard assessments conducted during the period 2003–2017.  Further, we determined angler satisfaction with the numbers and sizes of crappies caught post-regulation along with their support for the regulation from interviews during creel surveys and from postcard surveys during 2017.  Using linear mixed models, we found that in general the regulation led to increased crappie abundance, slowed growth, and changed size structure; the regulation benefited crappie populations more in larger (> 1,000 ha) and more productive (total phosphorus concentrations > 75 micrograms/L) reservoirs.  Angler satisfaction (percent satisfied) with the numbers of crappies caught ranged 30–68% and with the sizes of crappies caught ranged 24–72%, yet there was clear support for both the minimum length limit (percent support ranged 64–92%) and the daily bag limit (66–93%) with little opposition (percent opposition was < 11%) to the regulation.  These analyses ultimately led to removing the minimum length limit and daily bag regulation at 13 reservoirs.  More importantly, however, a general approach to regulation evaluation was developed, which includes analysis of standardized data on both fish populations and their anglers.

Monday January 28, 2019 4:20pm - 4:40pm
HOPE BALLROOM A

Attendees (1)