Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Nebraska
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Nebraska Project

Assessment of angler satisfaction in the mainstem Missouri River, Nebraska

August 2021 - December 2023


Participating Agencies

  • Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Satisfaction generally is as an attitude-like judgment following an event based on pre-event expectations. The confirmation or disconfirmation of expectations is the essential determinant of satisfaction. In many cases, experience-based norms derived from past personal experiences or information received from influential acquaintances determine the pre-event expectations. Satisfaction of recreational fishers is important to natural resource managers.

A growing concern throughout freshwater ecosystems in North America is that of the presence of invasive species. Bighead and silver carp (collectively referred to as “bigheaded carp”), native to Asia, are thriving in North America. Though scientists have well studied the biological and ecological impacts of bigheaded carp, scientists do not understand the effect that bigheaded carp have on fisher satisfaction. Invasive species can both positively and negatively influence fisher satisfaction, and this may be most evident in paddlefish fisheries.

The American Paddlefish is a large and slow growing fish that is a popular target among fishers on the Missouri River. To protect the existing fishery, there are limited numbers of paddlefish tags distributed in Nebraska and South Dakota each year. Currently, fishers can apply for paddlefish archery tags for use during June and for paddlefish snagging tags for use during October. It is likely that multiple ecological and sociological factors contribute to perceived satisfaction among fishers.

To understand the influence of bigheaded carp on paddlefish-fishers’ satisfactions, we are quantifying (via onsite in-person and mail surveys) fishers’ expectations and outcomes during archery and snagging seasons on two temporal scales—daily and seasonally. Our a priori anticipation was that the presence of bigheaded carp would positively influence satisfactions of fishers during archery season (by providing additional individuals to target) and negatively influence satisfactions of fishers during snagging season (by interfering with harvest activities targeted toward Paddlefish).

Preliminary results are consistent with our hypothesis that archers are more satisfied and snaggers are less satisfied. We use an Importance Grid Analysis (IGA) to visualize components that contributed to fishers’ satisfactions. An Importance grid analysis (IGA) is a common tool used in marketing to assess customer satisfaction with a product. It can similarly be used in the circumstance of assessing satisfaction with ecosystem services including that of a recreational fishery.

An IGA utilizes explicitly stated importance to show what attributes truly are valued as contributing to satisfaction. Explicit importance is calculated from the mean importance rating of each attribute on the survey, whereas implicit importance is derived from a partial correlation or ranked satisfaction and ranked attribute importance. When implicit and explicit importance is plotted, the results will fall into four quadrants based on the means. Factors falling into the lower right quadrant are considered basic and therefore contribute to dissatisfaction if not achieved. Factors falling into the lower left quadrant are called performance factors that are unimportant to satisfaction. Factors in the upper left quadrant are called excitement factors meaning that they do not contribute to dissatisfaction if not achieved but do contribute to satisfaction if achieved. Factors in the upper right quadrant are called performance factors that are important meaning that they contribute to satisfaction if achieved and dissatisfaction if not achieved.

Factors assessed in the IGA include seeing carp, snagging or shooting carp, harvesting carp, harvesting paddlefish, weather, access to a waterbody, social aspects of fishing, and effort required for harvest. The IGA revealed that in the archery season, seeing carp, snagging carp, and harvesting carp are considered excitement factors, whereas in the snagging season these factors are considered unimportant performance factors. Thus, archers’ satisfaction can be enhanced by the presence of these invasive species, whereas snaggers’ satisfaction is on average unaffected by the presence of these invasive species.