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Tuesday, January 29 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
(P54) Characterizing Wisconsin Angler Preferences for Inland Lake Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, and Walleye Fisheries

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AUTHORS. Ralph W. Tingley III, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Jonathan Hansen, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Dan Isermann, U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit; David Fulton, U.S. Geological Survey, Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Andrea Musch, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Craig Paukert, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit

ABSTRACT. Understanding angler preference is central to managing fish populations and can aid in predicting shifts in angler behavior if fisheries change. Species-specific angler surveys fail to incorporate tradeoffs inherent in multi-species fisheries, limiting their application to real-world management. We administered a survey of Wisconsin anglers that included questions requiring anglers to choose between different lake fisheries to better understand angler preferences when considering realistic tradeoffs. We used a site-choice model to quantify the importance of three components of angler preferences associated with bluegill, largemouth bass, and walleye: 1) expectations of catch 2) tradeoffs within species-specific fisheries and 3) species tradeoffs. Next, we conducted a latent class analysis (LCA) to identify and examine differences among previously unobserved angler subgroups. Finally, we assessed the sensitivity of angler choice within subgroups to changes in fishing opportunities, with an emphasis on projected climate-driven changes. Results of the site-choice model indicated that both residents and non-residents prefer “quality” (i.e., moderate catch rate and size-structure) over “action” or “trophy” fisheries, and that characteristics of largemouth bass fisheries are more important to non-residents than residents. Surprisingly, results of the site-choice model and subgroup analysis both indicated that for a large number of anglers (>50%), characteristics of bluegill fisheries are a major driver of where anglers choose to fish. In addition, “what-if” simulations of projected changes in walleye, bass and bluegill fisheries indicate that the maintenance of quality bluegill fisheries is essential to ensuring angler participation, but the retention of high-yield walleye fisheries (i.e., flowages, large-lakes) is also likely important for certain angler subgroups. Our results offer insight into what anglers desire across the lake-rich landscape of Wisconsin and how behavior may shift if fisheries change, which is particularly relevant as lakes experience habitat changes across the upper Midwest of the US.

Tuesday January 29, 2019 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Attendees (5)