Efforts to manage several trout fisheries in Tennessee have been stymied by conflicts between management agencies and angler groups. To assist in preventing such conflicts in the future, we examined attitudes and motivations of trout anglers who fished eight tailwater fisheries in Tennessee during 2001-2002. Using a stratified random sampling design, anglers were contacted and interviewed on site (n = 2,643). Those anglers who agreed to complete a questionnaire (n = 1,942) were mailed a 10-page survey. Response rate to the mail survey was 55% after excluding surveys that were undeliverable. Angler subgroups were created using hierarchical cluster analyses of 14 variables related to experience, resource use, investment, and centrality of fishing to their lifestyle. Five subgroups of minimally to highly specialized anglers were identified, and nonhierarchical cluster analysis determined the size of each group (n = 178-369 anglers/group). Subgroups differed in the importance they attached to harvesting trout and catching trophy trout. The most disparate mean ratings among subgroups were for the motive of "obtaining fish to eat." Specialized anglers placed greater importance on catching a trophy fish, experiencing the catch, developing their skills, releasing fish, and restrictive regulations than did less-specialized anglers. Mean ratings for most of nine fishing regulations presented to anglers differed among tailwaters; however, bait restrictions and closed seasons received little support across all rivers. The Caney Fork, Clinch, and Hiwassee rivers had the most uniform distributions of anglers among the five subgroups and thus had a relatively high potential for conflicts over management decisions. The fisheries on the Elk, South Fork Holston, and Watauga rivers were dominated by the most specialized subgroups, indicating that the majority of anglers on those rivers would accept restrictive regulations. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2007.
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Preferences, specialization, and management attitudes of trout anglers fishing in Tennessee tailwaters