Evaluating Vehicle Traffic Counters As an Auxiliary Method for Estimating Angler Effort within Ohio Reservoirs
Expense and logistical constraints of conducting on-site angler surveys often limit their temporal and spatial scope. Passive sampling techniques may compliment angler surveys by providing data for non-sampled time frames and areas. We evaluated vehicle traffic counters as a means of estimating angler effort for 15 reservoirs in Ohio in tandem with angler surveys conducted during 2007-2013. Vehicle traffic counters were deployed near parking areas of major access sites at each reservoir. Daily vehicle counts from each reservoir, adjusted for recreational activity, were correlated (Pearson correlation; P<0.05) with estimates of daily shore angling effort, boat angler effort, and total angler effort (mean anglers/h). Vehicle traffic counts were significantly correlated with either boat angler effort or total angler effort, or both, for 11 of the 15 reservoirs. A significant correlation was found between vehicle counts and shore angler effort at 5 reservoirs. The strongest correlations were found at locations with fewer shoreline access sites and limited non-angling related traffic. Results suggest that vehicle traffic counters may complement angler surveys by providing reliable estimates of effort for non-sampled days.