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

Hutt, C. P., and P. W. Bettoli. 2007. Preferences, specialization, and management attitudes of trout anglers fishing in Tennessee tailwaters. North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 27:1257-1267.


The attitudes and motivations of trout anglers who fished eight tailwater fisheries in Tennessee were examined in 2001-2002. Using a stratified random sampling design, anglers were contacted and interviewed on-site (n = 2,643). Those anglers who agreed to complete a questionnaire (n = 1,942) were mailed a 10-page survey. Response rate to the mail survey was 75% after excluding surveys that were undeliverable. Angler subgroups were created using hierarchical cluster analyses of fourteen variables related to experience, resource use, investment, and centrality of fishing to their lifestyle. Five subgroups of low to highly specialized anglers were identified and nonhierarchical cluster analysis determined the size of each group (n = 178 to 369 per group). Subgroup attitudes differed in regards to the importance of harvesting trout and catching trophy trout. The most disparate mean rankings among subgroups were for the motive “obtaining fish to eat”. Specialized anglers placed greater importance on catching a trophy, experiencing the catch, developing their skills, releasing fish, and restrictive regulations than did less specialized anglers. Mean rankings for most of nine fishing regulations presented to anglers differed among tailwaters; however, bait restrictions and closed seasons received little support across all rivers. The Caney Fork, Clinch, and Hiwassee Rivers had the most uniform distributions of anglers among the five subgroups and the potential for conflicts over management decisions will be relatively high at those rivers. The fisheries on the Elk, South Fork of the Holston, and Watauga Rivers were dominated by the most specialized subgroups, which suggests that the majority of anglers on those rivers would accept restrictive regulations.