Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


Date of this Version



Chizinski, C. J., D. R. Martin, C. G. Huber, and K. L. Pope. 2014. The influence of a rapid drawdown and prolonged dewatering on angling pressure, catch, and harvest in a Nebraska reservoir. Great Plains Research 24:145-152.


Copyright © 2014 by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


Red Willow Reservoir, Nebraska, experienced a rapid reduction (drawdown) in surface area, from 580 to 240 ha (59%), and prolonged maintenance at a low- water level from November 2009 until June 2012 (although the reservoir did not begin to refi ll until 2013 due to drought conditions). We documented changes in fishing effort, catch, and harvest at Red Willow Reservoir from two years pre- drawdown to three years post- drawdown. Fishing effort shift ed from a majority of boat anglers to roughly equal representation by boat and bank anglers because of the low- water level. Eff ort also shift ed from anglers seeking specific species to anglers simultaneously seeking all species (anything) during first- year post- drawdown, and then reverted back to anglers seeking specific species during the second and third years post- drawdown. Angler catch of fishes declined substantially post- drawdown. Th is case study highlights the complicated dynamics that exist among angler participation, reservoir quality, and sport- fish community. Understanding these dynamics is important in the management of fisheries, particularly when fishery managers must manage a reservoir subjected to an extreme change.