Modeling New York State'S Stocked Stream Trout Fishery
A population dynamics model has been used in New York State since the 1980's to explore trout stocking scenarios, but the input information has become obsolete due to changes in predator communities and angler practices. We surveyed nine streams for a three year period and using a combination of methods. Creel surveys allowed us to estimate effort, harvest, and catch rates, while electrofishing surveys provided estimates of total mortality. Geostatistical methods were used to explore patterns of angler origin. The effect of angler specialization was assessed using regression to compare calculated travel distance to angler income, gear, and stream choice. All three factors were found to be significant (P<0.05).Using nonlinear parameter estimation, we obtained estimates for apparent natural mortality and catchability nearly an order of magnitude higher than historical estimates. Predictions from the updated model exhibited much better fit than those from the model previously used to inform stocking decisions.
M.S., Natural Resources
Master of Science
dissertation or thesis