Sustainable management of fisheries resources requires an understanding of spatial and temporal interplay between targeted fish populations and anglers. We conducted a field study comparing spatial patterns in recreational angler effort to fish distribution in a Florida lake. Over one year, spatial locations of Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) anglers and Largemouth Bass were surveyed. Over 90% of anglers were fishing within 50 m from shore and one-third of fish were located offshore at any given time. This spatial patterning suggested that fish located in areas not targeted by anglers were less vulnerable to angling and, thus, anglers were not distributed according to the ideal free distribution. However, tag return data of telemetered fish showed similar catch trends in both onshore and offshore habitats, indicating that all fish were equally vulnerable to angling and anglers were ideally distributed. Informed use of spatial and/or temporal fishery regulations should consider fish and angler behavior.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding for this project was provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission through the Sport Fish Restoration Program.