Understanding angler site choice preferences is important in the management of recreational fisheries to forecast angling demand and effort. This study investigated lake choice by recreational anglers fishing for walleye Sander vitreus in Minnesota and examined how choices were influenced by lake characteristics, angler demographics, and angler catch orientation. We collected data through a stated choice preference experiment using a survey administered to a sample of Minnesota resident (n=1096) and nonresident (n=535) anglers. Multinomial probit choice models were used to estimate preferences in lake choice. Lake characteristics included walleye abundance, walleye size, bag limit, slot limit, and distance from primary residence. Models included (1) lake characteristics only, (2) lake characteristics and angler demographics, and (3) lake characteristics with angler demographics and catch orientation factors. The coefficients of lake attributes had expected signs with greater preference for higher walleye abundance, larger walleye, bigger bag limits, absence of slot limits, and less driving time from home (P<0.001 for all lake characteristics in the first model). Lake choice was influenced by the interaction of lake characteristics with age (negative with abundance of fish, P<0.100; positive with distance from home, P<0.001), metropolitan and out-of-state residency (positive with distance from home, P<0.001), and strength of preference for walleye (positive with distance, P<0.01). A stronger orientation to keep walleye was positively related to increased bag limits (P<0.001) and negatively related to slot limits (P<0.01). Study results have clear implications for managers—bag limits, relative to other lake characteristics, had a large influence on anglers’ lake choice for walleye fishing. Because of a stronger catch orientation among walleye anglers, low bag limits reduce lake preference. The results clarify the trade-offs that anglers make when selecting a place to fish for walleye and demonstrate how different management scenarios might influence angler participation.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Site choice among Minnesota walleye anglers: The influence of resource conditions, regulations and catch orientation on Lake Preference|
|Series title||North American Journal of Fisheries Management|
|Contributing office(s)||Coop Res Unit Leetown|