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Monday, February 6 • 3:40pm - 4:00pm
Symposia Session - S1: Midwestern Reservoir Management and Assessment Strategies. Managing Ohio’s Reservoir Sport Fisheries: Lessons Learned from a Standardized Assessment Program

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

ABSTRACT: The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimates that during 2011 anglers spent more than $750 million dollars on trips to Ohio’s inland waters, namely reservoirs, the Ohio River, and other rivers and streams.  The Ohio Division of Wildlife manages these economically- and ecologically-important waters through the Inland Management System (IMS), a planned, iterative, priority-based approach to standardized assessments of sport fish populations and their anglers.  In general, IMS seeks to build long-term datasets that direct available staff time to collect information on fish population trends, determine angler effort, evaluate management practices, and respond to angler inquires.  Since 2003, inland reservoir (publically-accessible systems with a surface area greater than 10 ha) IMS has used electrofishing, trap netting, and gillnetting to assess sport fish populations; hydroacoustics to assess prey fish; access point, roving, and bus-route creels to assess angler use patterns; and, nutrient and chlorophyll analyses to measure productivity.  Here, we provide a brief reservoir IMS overview including annual sampling timelines, targeted sport fish species, gears used for evaluations, and a description of angler creel methods.  With the experience of over a decade of standardized assessments, several lessons have emerged: (1) robust datasets allow statistical rigor, but require ample staff effort and long time periods; (2) a planned, iterative approach facilitates evolution of standardized approaches; and, (3) prioritizing populations and locations sampled builds spatially- and temporally-resolved datasets and directs evaluations of standard methods and research projects.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:40pm - 4:00pm CST