Use of a Digital Trail Camera to Monitor Angler Participation Trends in a Small Urban Impoundment

Thursday, August 21, 2014: 9:20 AM
301B (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Marcos J. De Jesus , Inland Fisheries, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, San Marcos, TX
J. Warren Schlechte , Inland Fisheries, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Mountain Home, TX
We used a fixed-mounted digital camera to estimate angler participation at a small impoundment near Austin, Texas as part of a marketing evaluation for an urban fishing program.  The camera took a photograph of most of the shoreline every 15 minutes for one year.  We used on-site angler counts to ground-truth angler estimates and verify angler-type (i.e., youth:adult) identification.  A regression model of expected counts based on the camera and observed counts based on the ground-truthing had an r-square of 0.84.  Most anglers were adults; the highest youth to adult ratio (3.7:1) occurred on weekend afternoons.  Interestingly, most angling effort occurred on weekdays and was between 10am – 5pm.  We documented higher participation of youth during school holidays, in contrast to school days. December had the highest participation and August the lowest; however, no differences in participation were found between seasonal stockings of different species.  We compared the cost and effectiveness of this technique against traditional roving creels.  Digital trail cameras can be a valuable, cost-effective tool for managers looking to monitor angler participation trends or simply gather effort estimates in small impoundments, where traditional creel surveys would not capture these type of data efficiently.