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Research aims to cast a wider net for anglers

A good day of fishing can mean different things to different people.

It goes beyond what you catch (or don’t). A successful day out on a lake or river is also affected by factors such as whether you want to fish from the shore or a boat or what kind of fish are stocked. Any fishery can be one angler’s secret spot—and another’s last resort.

Many of these factors can be controlled by fisheries managers, though, and a study recently released by Warnell researchers offers insight into how these factors can attract a broader range of anglers. Published in the journal Human Dimensions of Wildlife, the study analyzes fishing preferences between white and nonwhite anglers and, in turn, can help guide managers looking to improve management of a fishing area.

The study has already come in handy for its lead author, Hunter Roop, a Warnell graduate and a fisheries biologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The study was part of Roop’s master’s thesis, and he says its findings are useful as he sets goals and expectations for Lake Lanier, one of Georgia’s most popular fisheries and one he helps manage.

“Anglers are a diverse community and they don’t all want the same thing—so, there’s potential for conflicting angler preferences,” said Roop. “As fisheries managers, we’re here to manage for the greater good and the most people, so this study has created a set of expectations for myself that’s helped me so far in my career.”

The study was a creel survey of anglers who visited Georgia DNR’s Marben Public Fishing Area at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center, one of 11 public fishing areas the agency manages. Roop and his study partners—Cecil Jennings, adjunct professor at Warnell and the fish and wildlife unit leader for the USGS Georgia Cooperative, and Neelam Poudyal, associate professor at the University of Tennessee—asked anglers about their fishing habits, attitudes toward management, management factors that affected their fishing satisfaction and other questions specific to fisheries management at the location.

Read the full story on the UGA news website.

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