Saturday, April 2, 2016

Mad River "Creel Survey"

Press Release- 4/2/16

From: Timothy Parker- District 1 Fisheries Biologist- ODNR

The Mad River is the most popular of three cold water streams managed for brown trout (Salmo trutta) in Ohio. The fishery is maintained through annual stocking of yearling brown trout at a rate of approximately 500 per river mile.  Fish are stocked in early October and are typically 6-8” in size, but can range from 4-12” at stocking.  A brown trout research project was initiated in 2011 and ended in 2014 to assess survival, growth, and movement of stocked brown trout in the 3 program streams including the Mad River.  Although this research was extensive and very valuable toward understanding brown trout population, it was missing a crucial component - angler use and harvest of the fishery.  The most recent creel survey conducted was in 1994.  During that survey, the trout regulation was a daily limit of 5 fish with a minimum length of 10”.  That regulation was changed in 2000 to a daily limit of 2 fish with a 12” minimum length which is still in effect. In addition to a regulation change, we believe the angler preferences and harvest rates have likely changed over the past 20 years to include more catch and release fishing.  In order to bridge this knowledge gap we will conduct a creel survey during the 2016 fishing season.  We hope to gather angler satisfaction, harvest/catch numbers, fishing pressure among other important factors to help fisheries managers make more informed decisions with regards to the Mad River fishery. 

The creel survey will take place from April 1, 2016 – November 6, 2016.  Surveying the river over this period should give us good temporal coverage throughout the year during periods of perceived high and low fishing pressure.  Data from the 1994 survey, as well as input from the county wildlife officer, suggest that there is a high amount of fishing pressure beginning in March and April.  The summer months are a period of low water levels and higher water temperatures typically resulting in fewer anglers and less angler success. The fall season will allow us to look at how stocking influences angler use. With this timeframe the creel survey will hopefully answer four key questions: 1: How much total angler effort takes place on the Mad River; 2: What is the peak season of trout angling; 3: How much harvest takes place; 4: Does the stocking attract new angling pressure?

The data will be collected through interviews and post-cards. On weekends and randomly selected weekdays, a creel clerk will be driving a route along the Mad River counting anglers and interviewing them. He will be driving an Ohio Division of Wildlife truck with “Angler Survey” decals. During interviews, he will ask a series of questions about the angling trip and some supplemental questions regarding satisfaction. At the end of the survey he will leave each angler with a few post-cards to complete and fill out at the end of their future trips. The creel clerk will leave post-cards on the windshield of park vehicles if no angler is viewable from the access site. We hope that anglers will find the post-card when they return to their car and will mail the completed card back to us. The cards do not require postage so there will be no expense for angler.

A copy of the "Creel Survey" cards- these will be available at the shop!

No postage required! All anglers that fish the Mad are encouraged to help!

A Note from Mad River Outfitters:

Friends, this is a great chance for all who fish the Mad River to get involved and make a difference. We encourage folks to fill these cards out after a fishing excursion and send them in.

We will be reminding folks all season about this both in our fishing reports and in the shop.

We will be keeping a stack of the cards in the shop and will be happy to pass out to those who would like to participate.

It's our chance to help the ODNR help the river!

We hope you will join us in supporting this survey!

Mad River Outfitters
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813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214