Welcome to the interactive web schedule for the 2019 Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference! Please note, this event has passed. To return to the main Conference website, go to: www.midwestfw.org.

For tips on navigating this schedule, click HELPFUL INFO below.

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES: As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we experienced a number of cancellations and changes to the schedule. Cancellations and changes are listed here (as of January 26, 2019). 

Sign up or log in to bookmark your favorites and sync them to your phone or calendar.

T29: Human Dimensions: Fisheries II [clear filter]
Wednesday, January 30

10:20am EST

(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: FISHERIES 2) Review of Fishing Pressure and Harvest on Southern Indiana Waterbodies 1983-2017
AUTHORS: Sandy Clark-Kolaks, Indiana Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Creel surveys provide estimates of angler effort, catch rate, and angler preference that can assist biologists in better managing fish populations. Indiana Department of Natural Resources (INDNR) has been conducting creel surveys since the 1960s on selected waterbodies using either two-stage cluster non-uniform probability or roving access designs. Creels typically ran from early spring through late fall and expansion factors were applied to the daily observations totals for each observed category to provide projections of monthly lake-wide fishing pressure and harvest. Information collected during creels is used for individual waterbody evaluations but no landscape level review of creels has been conducted. From 1983 to 2017, over 50 waterbodies have had creel surveys conducted, ranging in size from 1 to 10,750 acres. Creel survey frequencies were highly variable ranging from 16 to 1 times. The majority of anglers were targeting Largemouth Bass; however, in urban areas anglers tended to be less species specific and were most likely fishing for anything. Larger reservoirs had the greatest number of angler trips, number of fish harvested, and fishing hours. However, when normalizing metrics by lake size; smaller urban lakes had the greatest trips per acre, fish harvested per acre, fishing hours per acre, and economic impact. A major focus of the INDNR is recruiting and retaining new anglers. Urban areas contain the largest group of potential angler recruits; however, counties with the greatest population densities had very low public water available to anglers and in seven counties no public waterbodies are available to anglers. This landscape level evaluation of creel surveys provides direction to managers about where efforts should be made to increase the availability of public waters to recruit and maintain new anglers.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 10:20am - 10:40am EST

10:40am EST

(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: FISHERIES 2) An Estimation of Harvest and Angler Habits at Bowfishing Tournaments in Illinois
AUTHORS: Sarah A Molinaro, Jeffrey A Stein – Illinois Natural History Survey

ABSTRACT: Previous efforts to study and manage freshwater recreational sport fishing have largely focused on rod-and-reel anglers targeting black bass, catfish and panfish, while bowfishing – the use of archery equipment to capture fish – has received little attention despite the obligatory lethality and increasing popularity of the angling method. Furthermore, bow anglers in the Midwest primarily harvest species not traditionally targeted by recreational anglers, such as gar, buffalo and carp, which oftentimes may be taken in unlimited numbers. The limited information available on bowfishing harvest suggests that bowfishing tournaments harvest large numbers of fish at higher rates than those reported from rod-and-reel tournaments, which may leave populations vulnerable to over-exploitation. To better understand the habits and preferences of bow anglers, to characterize species-specific bowfishing harvest rates, and to estimate size-specific bowfishing mortality of gars, we conducted point-access creel surveys at bowfishing tournaments throughout Illinois from June 2017 to August 2018 (n = 16).  Creel clerks recorded fishing effort, the count of each species harvested, and individual size metrics of gars from each participating team (n = 147), and a subsample of anglers were surveyed about their bowfishing experiences, recreational angling habits, and bowfishing target species preferences (n = 147). Across all tournaments, the 456 participants bowfished for approximately 3,390 hours and harvested fish at a rate of 1.73 fish angler-hour<sup>-1</sup>, with carps accounting for 86% of the harvested fish, buffaloes for 9% and gars for 4%. Tournament anglers reported a wide range of lifetime experience with bowfishing and bowhunting, and that tournament participation is important to their overall fishing activity. The results and conclusions of this study will inform management decisions that promote sustainable harvest of novel recreational fisheries and provide quality recreational opportunities to bow anglers, and have implications in the management of invasive carp species.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 10:40am - 11:00am EST

11:00am EST

(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: FISHERIES 2) Role of Environmental Context and Individual Behavioral Type on Angling Vulnerability
AUTHORS: Toniann D. Keiling, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Michael J. Louison, McKendree University; Cory D. Suski, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

ABSTRACT: Global recreational fishing involves millions of anglers capturing millions of fish, and has the potential to negatively impact fish populations either through direct means (i.e. through incidental mortality or harvest), or through indirect means, such as the removal of specific behavioral types. At present, the specific mechanism(s) that define why fish strike fishing lures are unknown, as are how environmental factors influence catch rates. Understanding the factors that motivate fish to strike a lure will not only help predict catch rates, but will also help define how fisheries mortality and harvest can shape populations. The goal of this study was to define how behavioral type and prey availability interact to influence angling vulnerability, using largemouth bass as a model. To accomplish this goal, we first performed behavior assays on largemouth bass to place them along a ‘bold’ vs. ‘shy’ continuum, and then transferred fish to one of two ponds, one with a generous supply of prey (fathead minnows) and the other with no prey. Largemouth bass in the ponds were then angled for 8 days. Results indicated that prey availability only weakly influenced capture success in ponds. Rather, size (total length) was the strongest predictor of fish capture with larger fish more likely to strike lures, despite the fact that mean size varied by only 1.2 cm across captured and uncaptured individuals. Results are further discussed in the context of angling vulnerability, and how selective harvest may shape fish populations and aquatic ecosystems.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 11:00am - 11:20am EST

11:20am EST

(HUMAN DIMENSIONS: FISHERIES 2) Successes and Limitations of a Roving-access Angler Survey Design to Increase Numbers and Frequency of Reservoirs Surveyed in Ohio
AUTHORS: Kevin S. Page, Ohio Division of Wildlife

ABSTRACT: Reservoirs in Ohio are surveyed annually by the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW) to collect fishery-relevant information on angler effort, catch, and harvest. Historically, the ODOW conducted roving-access site angler creel surveys on weekdays and weekends during the months of April–September. However, the costs associated with conducting these intensive surveys limited the number of locations surveyed annually (0–5). In 2004, a new angler survey design was implemented that only targeted periods of greatest overall and directed angler effort (May–July, weekends), thereby decreasing the number of surveys at any one reservoir but increasing the number of reservoirs surveyed. This design has been instrumental in increasing the spatial and temporal extent of angler surveys. As of 2016, more than 300 angler surveys have been conducted at more than 100 reservoirs. To validate that the “targeted” survey design continues to provide useful fishery metrics, intensive angler surveys (March–November, weekdays and weekends) were conducted at four reservoirs during 2017. This full extensive dataset was compared to a subset representing the typical high-use survey. Overall, the “targeted” strategy continues to effectively monitor overall angler effort and catch, but may miss the peak periods (spring and fall) for certain fisheries.

Wednesday January 30, 2019 11:20am - 11:40am EST