COLUMBUS — Angler surveys are underway in many popular Ohio public waterways and in Lake Erie, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Wildlife Division.
According to the ODNR, the information gathered from the annual angler survey is essential to maintaining and improving the quality of Ohio’s public fisheries and fishing opportunities.
Eighteen creel clerks will collect information in 2022. Six are based on the shore of Lake Erie, two on the Maumee and Sandusky rivers, five on the Ohio River and five in inland reservoirs. Lake Erie surveys continue through October; inland reservoir surveys are ongoing through November and along the Ohio River through the end of the year. Historical surveys reveal that the most popular Ohio species to target are walleye, yellow perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout, sageye, pumpkinseed, crappie and catfish.
Creel clerks in the Wildlife Division collect information directly from fishers to generate estimates of fishing effort, catch rates, and harvest rates. Clerks also tally the number of boats, the number of boat trailers at launches, and the number of anglers at designated shore fishing locations. Information collected on angler satisfaction, opinions and demographics is used to provide an understanding of fishing preferences.
The surveys also play an important role in the future management of Lake Erie fisheries. Yellow perch and walleye information collected from Lake Erie anglers is used by the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, an international collaboration of natural resource organizations, to produce estimates population and establish total allowable catch rates. Based on survey data, the committee then establishes recreational fishing regulations for the following year.
In addition to estimating populations and establishing fishing regulations, information collected from inland waterways is critical to understanding the success of stocking programs. Information about angler satisfaction and preferences helps fisheries managers efficiently allocate where, when, and with what size and species of fish to stock.
(Information courtesy of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.)