Tracy Kolb

Tracy Kolb

Michigan Department of Natural Resources - statewide angler survey program biologist


B.S., Geology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2003
M.S., Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 2008


I am the Statewide Angler Survey Program (SASP) Biologist. The primary purpose of SASP is to collect harvest (number of fish caught), effort (number of hours anglers fished), and biological (weight, length, and age) data from all of the Great Lakes and many inland lakes throughout the state of Michigan. We collect these data by employing up to 35 fish assistants to interview boat, shore, pier and ice fishing anglers each day throughout the summer and winter.

Harvest data can be used as an indicator of fish abundance. Because we have been collecting data since the early 1980's, we can track how many fish of each species are harvested every year and see trends through time. We can also see if these are trends in whole lakes or just from specific ports.

Effort data lets us know if anglers are continuing to target the same species through time or if they are targeting different fish. If we know what species or groups of species anglers value, we can make sure to focus management activities on these fish. Effort data are also important because if we see harvest decreasing, we can evaluate if this is because fish are decreasing or if it's because anglers stopped fishing for a certain species.

Biological data lets us know more than just how many fish are out there. We use the biological data in order to see if fish of the same age are getting larger or smaller over time. These pieces of information can be used as indicators of fish health.

We collect a lot of data here at the SASP program, but historically we have kept it in many different locations and in many different forms. I was hired because I have studied information management extensively and it is my passion. One of my main goals as SASP biologist, is to build an easily searchable database so that other biologists and anglers can see those harvest, effort, and biological data. The database is here!

Michigan Department of Natural Resources