NY DEC Announces Completion of the Freshwater Angler Survey

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Lake OneidaInformation Will Be Used To Help Make Fisheries Management Decisions

The 2007 New York State Freshwater Angler Survey, which provides valuable insight on fishing trends and resource management, is now available, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today. The survey is conducted periodically in order to learn more about the current fishing experiences of anglers in New York State, their interests in different types of fishing opportunities, and their opinions on fisheries management issues.

The information contained in the survey resulted from a total of approximately 20,000 completed questionnaires from a random sample of licensed anglers. The results indicate that anglers spent an estimated 18.7 million days fishing New York’s freshwaters in 2007. This is a slight increase from 1996’s estimate of 18.6 million, though lower than the 1988 peak of approximately 21 million. Water bodies that had significant increases in the number of angler trips in 2007 included Oneida Lake and the Hudson River — each had a jump of approximately 200,000 additional angler days over 1996’s estimates. Smaller increases were also noted for Lake Erie, Cayuga Lake and Lake Champlain. Lake Ontario remained the top fishing water, though there was a 177,000-angler-day decrease compared to 1996’s estimates.

Black bass continues to be a top favorite among many anglers. Other species, including walleye, yellow perch, and bluegill/sunfish, all saw increases from 1996 levels in the number of days they were pursued by anglers.

The survey gives insight not only into fishing preferences, but also the impact fishing has on state and local economies. New York’s resident and non-resident anglers collectively spent an estimated $331 million at fishing sites, and an estimated $202 million en route to fishing sites. The Great Lakes fishery alone generated an estimated $98 million in at-location expenditures.

“New York has some of the finest freshwater fishing in the country, with a wide range of angling opportunities that are the backbone of a substantial economic engine,” Commissioner Grannis said. “The angler survey is an important tool that will help build upon our success in managing fisheries and create new fishing opportunities. We thank the many anglers that participated in providing this information and look forward to working together to protect, restore and enhance freshwater fishing in New York.”

The survey was carried out by Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with DEC’s Bureau of Fisheries and was funded by a federal “Sport Fish Restoration” grant.

Results of the survey are compiled in four reports:

Report 1 contains estimates of angler effort (i.e. days fished) and expenditures made by anglers; statewide, by region, and by major water body. It also provides estimates of angler effort for specific game fish species such as black bass, trout and walleye.

Report 2 assesses angler preferences for freshwater fish species and water bodies, characteristics and preferences of anglers, as well as satisfaction levels associated with some specific fishery management objectives.

Report 3 provides estimates of angler effort and expenditures by county.

Report 4 provides an assessment of recall bias by comparing the results of the two survey methodologies used in 2007. The report also provides an analysis of trends in fishing effort.

Each of the four reports, as well as a summary report that highlights significant findings, are available on the DEC website (as PDF documents). Questions pertaining to the survey can be directed to Shaun Keeler in the Bureau of Fisheries at (518) 402-8928.