News From Responsive Management

Washington Freshwater Angler Survey
More Studies
of Anglers and Fishing Participation Conducted
by Responsive Management
 
The Economic Impact of Mountain Trout Fishing in North Carolina (forthcoming)
 
South Carolina Saltwater Anglers' Participation in and Satisfaction With Saltwater Fishing and Opinions on Saltwater Fisheries Management
(2009) (308KB PDF)
 
Iowa Angler Survey (2008) (440KB PDF)
 
Pennsylvania Trout Fishing Survey (2008) (469KB PDF)

California Residents' Opinions on and Attitudes Toward Coastal Fisheries and Their Management (2007) (357KB PDF)
 
North Carolina Trout Anglers' Participation in and Satisfaction With Trout Fishing and Their Opinions on Specific Regulations (2007) (883KB PDF)
 
 Oregon Licensed Angler Survey (2006) (1.5MB PDF)
 
South Carolina Saltwater Anglers' Participation in Saltwater Recreational Fishing and Opinions on a Precautionary Approach to Managing Marine Finfish Resources (2006) (652KB PDF)

South Carolina Survey of Youth Regarding Aquatic Resources (2006) (770KB PDF)
 
South Carolina Saltwater Anglers' Opinions on the Red Drum Fishery (2005) (155KB PDF)
 
West Virginia Residents' Attitudes Toward Wildlife, Their Participation in Wildlife-Related Recreation, and Their Consumption of Fish Caught in West Virginia (2005) (1.9MB PDF)
 
New Hampshire Angler Survey: Resident Anglers' Participation in and Satisfaction With Fishing and Their Opinions on Fishing Issues (2004) (1MB PDF)
 
Resident Participation in Freshwater and Saltwater Sport Fishing in Georgia (2004) (144KB PDF)
 
South Carolina Fishing License Holders' Opinions on and Attitudes Toward Freshwater Fisheries Management and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (2004) (402KB PDF)
 
 A Marketing Plan for the Freshwater Fisheries Section of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (2003) (562KB PDF)
 
New Jersey Anglers' Participation in Fishing, Harvest Success, and Opinions on Fishing Regulations (2003) (1.1MB PDF)
 
Public Opinion on Management Options for Recreational Fishing of Early Run King Salmon on the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers in Alaska (2003) (1.1MB PDF)
 
Washington State Angler Preference Survey (2003) (2.2MB PDF)
 
South Carolina Residents' Attitudes and Behaviors Toward Aquatic Resources (2002) (454KB PDF)
 
Anglers' and Boaters' Attitudes Toward Various Messages That Communicate the Benefits of Fishing and Boating: Results of a Series of Nationwide Focus Groups (2001) (133KB PDF)
 
Evaluation of Georgia Kids' Fishing Events (2001) (526KB PDF)
 
Maintaining and Increasing Fishing Participation and Fishing License Sales in Georgia: A Market Study (2001) (8.5MB PDF)
 
South Carolina Youth Aquatic Survey (2001) (605KB PDF)
  
The Future of Fishing in the United States: Assessment of Needs to Increase Sport Fishing Participation (1999) (614KB PDF)
 
Women's, Hispanics', and African-Americans' Participation in and Attitudes Toward Boating and Fishing (1998) (104KB PDF)

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To see more studies conducted by Responsive Management, including full reports in downloadable PDF form, visit our website. A listing of Responsive Management's recent and current projects can be found
here (372KB PDF).
IT'S JUNE, AND FOR MOST OF THE NATION that means fishing season is in full swing. In the State of Washington, anglers have their choice of more than 4,000 rivers and streams, 7,000 lakes, and 200 reservoirs for freshwater fishing. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), approximately 300,000 anglers take part in opening weekend for lake fishing in April. By the first weekend in June, most rivers and streams are open to fishing and the season is well under way. While Washington anglers study new fishing regulations and the best places to wet a line, Responsive Management has been studying Washington anglers to assess how often they fish, what they fish for, and how their participation in the sport may have changed over time. 
 
The Responsive Management study, conducted for the WDFW, consisted of a scientific survey of Washington resident freshwater anglers. The purpose of the survey was to gather information about participation in freshwater fishing, the species most commonly fished for, the most preferred species, and opinions on various regulations and WDFW efforts, in order to inform future decision making and planning by the Department. Resident anglers who hold licenses that allow for freshwater fishing, whether a combination or freshwater license, were surveyed. The scientific survey was developed cooperatively by Responsive Management and the WDFW and was conducted in April and May 2008. Responsive Management obtained a total of 1,517 completed interviews. Findings are reported at a 95% confidence interval. For the entire sample of Washington licensed resident anglers, the sampling error is at most plus or minus 2.51 percentage points.

Participation
and Avidity
Nearly two-thirds of Washington licensed resident anglers (62%) fished all five of the past 5 years. About half of licensed resident anglers (52%) say that their amount of fishing in the past five years in Washington has remained about the same; otherwise, slightly more say that it has declined (26%) than say it has increased (21%). 
 
Anglers who fish for bass, panfish, walleye, catfish, perch, or other such fish are the most avid (with 15.2 mean days fished), followed by steelhead anglers (13.8 mean days fished) and anglers who fish for trout, kokanee, or silvers in lowland lakes (11.2 mean days fished).
 
Species Fished
Trout is the most fished freshwater species in Washington (82% fish for any type of trout, excluding cutthroat), with rainbow trout being the leading type of trout (78% of all anglers fish for rainbow trout). Distantly following trout among species fished are salmon (38%); kokanee or silvers (37%); brook, brown, or golden trout (35%); steelhead (32%); and bass (30%).
 
Satisfaction
Satisfaction is high for fishing in Washington, with large majorities being satisfied with their fishing in eastern (85% are satisfied) and in western (78%) Washington. Although dissatisfaction is quite low for game fishing in eastern Washington (13%), it is a little higher for fishing in western Washington (21%).
 
Motivations
The top motivations for fishing in Washington's lakes, rivers, or streams over the past 2 years were to be with family or friends (23% said this was their main reason), for the fun of catching fish (19%), for relaxation (19%), and for the sport (19%).
 
Methods
Substantial percentages of anglers use bait for rainbow, brook, and brown trout; summer and winter steelhead; resident cutthroat trout; salmon; kokanee or silvers; crappie; perch; sturgeon; and walleye. Substantial percentages also use lures for summer and winter steelhead, salmon, kokanee or silvers, bass, crappie, and walleye; artificial bait for rainbow trout, bass, and perch; and flies for brook trout, brown trout, and resident cutthroat trout. The following table shows the preferred method of fishing according to the type of fish (of those types of fish for which a large enough sample answered the question). 

WDFW Efforts and Priorities
The survey asked anglers to indicate if they thought that the WDFW should devote more, the same, or less time to various types of fishing management. For all types of fishing, a greater percentage want more time devoted to it (ranging from 23% to 41%) than less time (ranging from 3% to 9%). In the ranking of the percentage wanting more time devoted to it, the steelhead fishery is at the top (41% want more time devoted to steelhead management), followed by trout in lowland lakes (36%) and trout in streams and beaver ponds (32%).
 
Regulations
A large majority of Washington licensed resident anglers (68%) agree that Washington's fishing regulations are clear and easy to understand; however, 28% disagree. And a majority of Washington licensed resident anglers (57%) support the current regulation that allows anglers to harvest wild steelhead in 11 specific rivers that meet or exceed spawning requirements for wild fish (anglers are allowed to keep one wild steelhead per license year); however, 27% oppose.

Trends
Responsive Management conducted a similar study of freshwater fishing for WDFW in 2003, and because of consistent methodology, Responsive Management statisticians were able to make direct comparisons of 2003 and 2008 study results to evaluate trends over time. There are no marked differences between 2003 and 2008 on many dimensions, but four areas did show changes:
 
Species Fished and Species Preferred: A slightly greater percentage of anglers fished for kokanee or silvers in 2008 (37%) compared to 2003 (30%), and a slightly lower percentage fished for searun cutthroat trout in 2008 (15%) than in 2003 (18%).
 
Fishing Locations: A slightly lower percentage of anglers fished in eastern Washington in 2008 (52%) than in 2003 (58%), and a slightly higher percentage fished in western Washington in 2008 (63%) compared to 2003 (58%).
 
Satisfaction: A slightly greater percentage of anglers are very satisfied with fishing in eastern Washington in 2008 (45%) compared to 2003 (38%), although overall satisfaction (very or somewhat) is about the same. In western Washington, a greater percentage of anglers are very satisfied with their fishing experiences in 2008 (37%) compared to 2003 (29%), and a greater percentage are overall satisfied (very or somewhat) in 2008 (78%: 37% very satisfied, 41% somewhat satisfied) than in 2003 (72%: 29% very satisfied, 43% somewhat satisfied).
 
Mentoring and Fishing Companions: A slightly lower percentage took a child fishing in 2008 (52%) compared to 2003 (57%). Awareness of the WDFW's Kids Fishing program is slightly greater in 2008 (36%) compared to 2003 (33%).
The Future
In 2009, Responsive Management will develop a marketing plan for the WDFW to give strategic direction to the Department's Fish Program and its ability to maintain and increase fishing participation and the sale of fishing licenses in the state. One of the primary goals of the research will be to determine the most effective methods of marketing fishing to current anglers, lapsed anglers, and non-anglers.
 
The full Washington Angler report, including complete results on other facets of freshwater fishing, including membership in organizations, sources of information, opinions on fishing contests, and regional findings, is available here (985KB PDF). A printable version of this article can be downloaded here (576KB PDF).

PHOTOS: WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE; JEREMY McWILLIAMS. 
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Responsive Management

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