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A human dimensions assessment of inland trout anglers in Michigan
Journal or Book Title: Management Reports (MDNR)
Year Published: 2017
Fisheries management by state agencies is as much about understanding and meeting the needs of anglers as it is about managing fish populations and their habitats. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conducted the Inland Trout Angler Survey (ITAS) to assess current opinions of Michigan’s inland trout anglers with respect to trout regulations and management priorities, and to characterize behavior, opinions, and practices of a large sample of these anglers. The ITAS was developed to provide information on these relatively unstudied aspects of Michigan trout anglers for incorporation into the DNR’s first statewide management plan for inland populations of brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, lake trout, and splake. ITAS respondents tend to have many years of trout fishing experience and use a diverse array of resources – other anglers, DNR Fishing Guide, smart phones, and DNR maps – to plan fishing trips and determine fishing regulations on particular water bodies. More respondents fish for inland stream trout in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula than other regions of Michigan. When respondents decide whether or not to fish a stream, aesthetic beauty is their most important selection factor. ITAS respondents generally believe the presence of trophy trout and the chance to catch large numbers of trout are less important than the presence of quality-sized trout. In contrast to streams, most respondents do not fish for trout in inland lakes. Those that fish inland lakes tend to target rainbow trout or brown trout as opposed to lake trout, brook trout, and splake. Ultimately, these and related findings will be used to advance inland trout management in Michigan through development of ecologically and socially informed management strategies.