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

Wisconsin Fishery Project

Evaluate the influence of harvest regulations on angler effort using remote car counters

June 2014 - December 2016


Participating Agencies

  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) plans to implement an adaptive management study to identify effective regulations to improve mean length of Bluegill on lakes where there is poor size structure. The proposed approach would employ three different regulations to bluegill populations that experience moderate to fast growth but have mean lengths less than the American Fisheries Society standard for Quality size. These lakes would be compared to un-manipulated control lakes that exhibit similar population growth and structure. Within this study, the Fisheries Analysis Center (FAC) and the Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit (WICFRU) will work with WDNR to explore angler effort response to suggested harvest regulations changes. A concern held by both the public and WDNR is that restrictive regulations may redistribute effort away from target lakes and move the problem elsewhere. While this is a legitimate concern, to fully address this concern would require full creel surveys on the treatment lakes and presumably all nearby lakes; which is financially and logistically unrealistic. We therefore propose to monitor changes in angler effort via car counters on a subset of lakes within each treatment and reference group. The car counters will only provide a course index of effort but substantial reductions in effort from before to after the treatment can be observed and presumably attributed to the regulation.