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

Jensen, A.J., S.J. Dundas, and J.T. Peterson. 2022. Phenomenological and mechanistic modeling of recreational angling behavior using creel data. Fisheries Research 249: 106235.


Improved understanding of angling behavior in recreational fisheries can help managers account for partial controllability in systems in which angling effort is not directly regulated. Relevant aspects of angling behavior include fishing participation, site choice, and catch-and-release actions and can be considered at scales of both aggregate fishing effort and individual-decision-making. Using creel survey data collected across eight fishery seasons, we predicted aggregate angling effort (e.g., daily number of boating trips engaged in fishing) and characterized influences of individual trip-based site choice for recreational fisheries acting on fall-run Chinook salmon and coho salmon near the mouth of the Columbia River, United States. We applied an overdispersed Poisson likelihood-based generalized linear model with an autoregressive structure to aggregate boating effort and a multinomial logit model to trip-based site choice decisions among separate ocean and estuary fishing zones. Predictive models explained 71% and 79% of out-of-sample and in-sample variability in aggregate effort, respectively, and included the covariates weekend status, Chinook salmon catch rate, tidal range, and pre-season expectations of fish abundance. Site choice model selection revealed the influence of weather, expected fishery season lengths, and the individual-specific characteristics of boat length and guide status on decision-making. Model results provide predictive models for short-term fishery planning, revealed underlying influences of individual decision-making, and highlight the value of standardized creel data for evaluating angling behavior.