Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 79, Issue 1–2, pp 71–83

The use of angler diary surveys to evaluate long-term changes in muskellunge populations on Lake of the Woods, Ontario

Original Paper

Abstract

Reported improvements in the muskellunge angling fishery on Lake of the Woods, Ontario over the last two decades have paralleled an increase in the practice of catch and release angling, and an increase in minimum size regulations for this species. The overall status of muskellunge populations in this large, complex lake has proven difficult to monitor using standard assessment methods. A volunteer muskellunge angler diary program, established in 1988, has provided a cost effective method of gathering a large amount of information with which to track this fishery and associated populations. Results from angling diaries indicated increased angling effort, catch and success rates for muskellunge on Lake of the Woods since the early 1990s. Although the month of July accounted for the majority of angling effort and catch, angling success rates and sizes of fish reported in diaries improved monthly into the late fall. Angling success rates were consistently higher in angling diaries than from creel surveys, but both survey types showed similar long-term trends in the fishery. Angler diary data, incorporating both the numbers of fish caught and/or seen by anglers, were used to calculate catch equality indices which proved to be sensitive to changes in population abundance. Increased minimum length regulations for muskellunge during 1987–2001 have been largely responsible for a decline in harvest rates from an estimated 36% in 1986 to 0% since 1999. Although higher size limits have yet to produce more quality-sized fish in angler catches, diary survey data, supported by recent improvements in catch rates from assessment gill nets, would indicate that muskellunge recruitment has increased. This article concludes with a brief review of how muskellunge angler diary data has been used in the past, including recommendations to minimize biases associated with this survey method.

Keywords

Esox masquinongy Volunteer angler diaries Catch equality indices Catch and release rates Minimum size limits 

References

  1. Anderson LE, Thompson PC (1991) Development and implementation of the angler diary monitoring program for Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories. Am Fish Soc Symp 12:457–475Google Scholar
  2. Casselman JM, Crossman EJ (1986) Size, age, and growth of trophy muskellunge and muskellunge–northern pike hybrids—the Cleithrum Project, 1979–1983, vol 15. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication, Bethesda, pp 93–110Google Scholar
  3. Casselman JM, Robinson CJ, Crossman EJ (1996) Assessing sustainability of trophy muskellunge fisheries. In: Kerr SJ, Olver CH (eds) Managing Muskies in the ‘90s workshop proceedings. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit Workshop Proceedings WP−007, 169 ppGoogle Scholar
  4. Casselman JM, Robinson CJ, Crossman EJ (1999) Growth and ultimate length of muskellunge from Ontario water bodies. North Am J Fish Manag 19:271–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cooke SJ, Dunlop WI, MacLennan D, Power G (2000) Applications and characteristics of angler diary programmes in Ontario, Canada. Fish Manag Ecol 7:473–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cornelius RR, Margenau TL (1999) Effects of length limits on muskellunge in Bone Lake, Wisconsin. North Am J Fish Manag 19:300–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Duffy MJ, Mosindy T (2001) 1988–1999 Lake of the Woods Muskie angler diary surveys. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Northwest Science and Technology, Aquatics Update 2001–1, 7 ppGoogle Scholar
  8. Foster RF, Colby PJ, Grabowski R (1999) Status of the Lac Seul muskellunge fishery. Report prepared for the Ministry of Natural Resources by Northern Bioscience Ecological Consulting, Thunder Bay, Ontario, 58 ppGoogle Scholar
  9. Hanson DA, Axon JA, Casselman JM, Haas RC, Schiavone A, Smith MR (1986) Improving musky management: a review of management and research needs, vol 15. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication, Bethesda, pp 333–341Google Scholar
  10. Kerr SJ (2004) Characteristics of Ontario muskellunge fisheries based on volunteer angler diary information. Fish and Wildlife Branch. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Peterborough, Ontario, 19 pp., appendicesGoogle Scholar
  11. Korver RM, Lester NP, Shuter BJ, Jones ML (1996) Density-dependent catchability in angling fisheries (or Do you suffer from q-suction?). Poster presentation at the American Fisheries Society, 126th annual meeting, DearbornGoogle Scholar
  12. Lewis CA (1996) An overview of muskellunge management in Ontario. In: Kerr SJ, Olver CH (eds) Managing Muskies in the ‘90s workshop proceedings. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit Workshop Proceedings WP-007, 169 ppGoogle Scholar
  13. MacLennan D (1996) Changes in the muskellunge fishery and population of Lake St. Clair after an increase in the minimum size limit. In: Kerr SJ, Olver CH (eds) Managing Muskies in the ‘90s workshop proceedings. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit Workshop Proceedings WP-007, 169 ppGoogle Scholar
  14. Malvestuto SP, Davies WD, Shelton WL (1978) An evaluation of the roving creel survey with non-uniform probability sampling. Trans Am Fish Soc 107(2):255–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mann S (1993) Collection techniques for fish ageing structures. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Northwest Science and Technology. NWST Technical Report TR–73, 20 ppGoogle Scholar
  16. Margenau TL, Petchenik JB (2004) Social aspects of muskellunge management in Wisconsin. North Am J Fish Manag 24:82–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. McClave JT, Dietrich FH, Sincich T (1997) Statistics, 7th edn. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, 823 ppGoogle Scholar
  18. Mosindy T (1996) Recent trends in the Lake of the Woods muskellunge fishery. In: Kerr SJ, Olver CH (eds) Managing Muskies in the ‘90s workshop proceedings. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Southern Region Science and Technology Transfer Unit Workshop Proceedings WP-007, 169 ppGoogle Scholar
  19. Oehmcke AA, Addis JT, Mooradian SR, Ogden K, Stange D (1986) The role of anglers and private organizations in muskellunge management. In: Managing Muskies, vol 15. American Fisheries Society, Special Publications, Bethesda, pp 323–334, 372Google Scholar
  20. Pollock KH, Jones CM, Brown TL (1994) Logbooks, diaries, and catch cards. In: Angler survey methods and their applications in fisheries management, vol 25. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication, Bethesda, pp 127–131, 371Google Scholar
  21. Richards K, Ramsell R (1986) Quantifying the success of muskellunge catch-and-release programs: a summary of cooperative angler tagging studies. In: Managing Muskies, vol 15. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication, Bethesda, pp 309–315, 372Google Scholar
  22. Ricker WE (1975) Computation and interpretation of biological statistics of fish populations, vol 191. Bulletin Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Ottawa, 382 ppGoogle Scholar
  23. Rietveld HJ, Armstrong EW, Baccante DA, Korver RM, Leith R, Mathers RA, Mosindy T, Reid DM, Ritchie BJ, Seyler J, Wepruk RL (2000) Regulatory control of walleye (Stizostedion vitreum) sport fisheries in Ontario. Percid Community Synthesis, Harvest Control Working Group. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Peterborough, Ontario, 39 ppGoogle Scholar
  24. Schraeder HA (1989) Analysis of volunteer angler diary data for the Thames River watershed. File Report. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Aylmer, OntarioGoogle Scholar
  25. Scott WB, Crossman EJ (1973) Freshwater fishes of Canada, vol 184. Bulletin Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Ottawa, 966 ppGoogle Scholar
  26. Smith CL (1990) Resource scarcity and inequality in the distribution of catch. North Am J Fish Manag 10:269–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Spendlow I (2006) Lake of the Woods open water creel survey: 2005. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Northwest Science and Information, NWSI Technical Report, TR–138, 16 ppGoogle Scholar
  28. Statistix 7 (2000) Statistix for Windows. Analytical Software, TallahasseeGoogle Scholar
  29. Sztramko LK, Dunlop WI, Powell SW, Sutherland RG (1991) Applications and benefits of an angler diary program on Lake Erie, vol 15. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication, Bethesda, pp 520–528Google Scholar
  30. Younk JA, Cook MF (1992) Applications of an angler diary for muskellunge (Esox masquinongy). Investigational Report 420. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St Paul, 21 ppGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ontario Ministry of Natural ResourcesLake of the Wood Fisheries Assessment UnitKenoraCanada
  2. 2.Saskatchewan EnvironmentLa RongeCanada

Personalised recommendations