Natural Resources, School of


First Advisor

Mark A. Kaemingk

Second Advisor

Kevin L. Pope

Date of this Version


Document Type



Ruskamp, C.N. 2018. Landscape structure and dynamics of recreational fisheries. M.S. Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Natural Resource Sciences, Under the supervision of Professors Mark A. Kaemingk and Kevin L. Pope. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2018

Copyright (c) 2018 Christine N. Ruskamp


Angler populations and the waterbodies they use are patchily distributed, creating putatively complex user-resource dynamics on the landscape. Spatially and temporally dynamic relationships between anglers and waterbodies can be difficult to track, understand, and manage. We often focus our efforts on the angler (directly or indirectly) with far less attention devoted to understanding the spatial structure and dynamics of fisheries on the landscape. Waterbodies serve as dynamic attractors on the landscape, shaping landscape patterns in angler participation. We surmise that by understanding the spatial structure and dynamics of recreational fisheries we can gain tremendous insight to cross-scale patterns that shape angler behavior.

We constructed waterbody-specific “anglersheds” that reveal critical links between anglers (i.e., users) and waterbodies (i.e., resources) on the landscape. Anglersheds represent the area of influence or spatiotemporal draw of anglers to a waterbody. Anglersheds were constructed from frequencies of anglers’ zip codes that were collected during on-site interviews (April-October 2014-2017) at eight prominent Nebraska waterbodies. We used these anglersheds to visually depict the spatiotemporal structure and dynamics of these recreational fisheries at multiple spatial scales and temporal levels. We then quantified these spatiotemporal dynamics by extracting multiple anglershed metrics. Anglersheds were dynamic in both space and time; anglershed features such as anglershed area (i.e., size), the degree of fragmentation (i.e., number of patches), and compactness (i.e., angler density) also differed among waterbodies. We then selected 11 independent variables that encompassed variation in the spatial socioeconomic structure, on-site attributes, and angler heterogeneity to explain changes in anglershed area for seven prominent Nebraska waterbodies. Anglershed area exhibited a positive relationship with air temperature, wind speed, and population density, but was unrelated to angler effort, catch rate, fuel price, household income, party size, precipitation, trip days, and waterbody size.

Anglersheds have the potential to “unlock” a wealth of information concerning the underlying spatial structure and dynamics of recreational fisheries. This approach has the ability to expose and capture cross-scale interactions within coupled social-ecological systems.

Advisors: Mark A. Kaemingk and Kevin L. Pope