TenHarmsel, H. J., B. B. Boley, B. J. Irwin, and C. A. Jennings. 2021. Perceived constraints and negotiations to trout fishing in Georgia based on angler specialization level. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 41:115-129. doi:10.1002/nafm.10540
Anglers face constraints that influence participation and dropout rates. Some recreational anglers may be able to negotiate constraints by altering the timing or frequency of participation, acquiring new skills, or modifying non-recreational aspects such as family or work responsibilities. We consider data collected via a mail survey from Georgia-resident trout license holders to identify both perceived constraints and strategies used to negotiate them. To capture variation among anglers, survey responses were grouped by level of angler specialization using K-means cluster analysis, which resulted in a three-cluster solution of most, moderate, and least specialized anglers. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests were used to detect potential differences among the three specialization clusters. Tests revealed the least specialized anglers experienced constraints more frequently (mean=1.74 on a 4-point scale) than the most (1.55) or moderately (1.64) specialized anglers. Likewise, lease specialized anglers negotiated constraints (mean=2.81 on a 5-point scale) less frequently than the most (3.00) or moderately (2.75) specialized anglers. The least specialized anglers used negotiation strategies involving overcoming perceived lack of skill more frequently than their counterparts. The most commonly experienced constraints overall were lack of time due to work or family obligations and distance of Georgia’s trout waters from home. The most frequently used negotiation strategies overall were “learn to enjoy being outside and stress less about catching fish” (mean=3.86/5) and “encourage family or friends to go fishing with me” (mean=3.61/5). This research benefits fishery managers by providing a method of identifying angling groups that perceive more constraints and are less likely to overcome these constraints through constraint negotiation strategies. With this information, managers may choose to tailor efforts towards reducing constraints for angling groups that have low participation and may drop out of the activity all together.