Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


Date of this Version



Fisheries Research 191 (2017) 69–75. doi:10.1016/j.fishres.2017.03.004


U.S. government work. Published by Elsevier B.V.


Knowing how many anglers use a given body of water is paramount for understanding components of a fishery related to angling pressure and harvest, yet no study has attempted to provide an estimate of the population size of anglers for a given waterbody. Here, we use information from creel surveys in a removal-sampling framework to estimate total numbers of anglers using six reservoirs in Nebraska, USA, and we examine the influence of the duration of sampling period on those estimates. Population estimates (N ± SE) of unique anglers were 2050 ± 45 for Branched Oak Lake, 1992 ± 29 for Calamus Reservoir, 929 ± 10 for Harlan County Reservoir, 985 ± 24 for Lake McConaughy, 1277 ± 24 for Merritt Reservoir, and 916 ± 18 for Pawnee Lake during April–October 2015. Shortening the sampling period by one or more months generally resulted in a greater effect on estimates of precision than on estimates of overall abundance. No relationship existed between abundances of unique anglers and angling pressures across reservoirs and sampling duration, indicative of a decoupling of angler abundance and angling pressure. The approach outlined herein has potential to provide defendable answers to “how many are there?”, questions we ask when subjects cannot be marked, which should provide new insights about angler populations and subpopulations.