Date of this Version
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's strategic plan has stated the following management goal for the Missouri River: Restore, protect, and maintain the diversity of historic Missouri River habitats, resources, and ecosystem functions in order that present and future generations may enjoy consumptive and non-consumptive outdoor recreational opportunities (NGPC 1996). To accomplish this goal the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission identified the following five objectives: • To restore terrestrial and aquatic floodplain habitat types by 2008. This would include old oxbows, chutes, side channels, sand bars, backwaters, wetlands, and other shallow water habitats. To restore ftows that reflect the natural hydrograph of the Missouri River by the year 2008. • To inform and educate the general public and constituency about Missouri River ecosystem functions and management. To double the number of total recreational use days by the year 2008. To investigate and manage native fish, wildlife, waterfowl, and fur bearers on a sustainable basis. Even though several of these objectives fall outside of NGPC management authority, this project has and will provide the data necessary to plan, implement and evaluate them. This strategic plan is currently being reviewed and updated.
Creel surveys on large rivers with numerous public and private access points are difficult and expensive to design and conduct. The first creel survey conducted on the channelized Missouri River in Nebraska was a roving creel during 1972 t01973 (Groen 1973). Segments of the channelized river covered included, Sioux City to Blair, Blair to Nebraska City and Nebraska City to Rulo. These same segments were surveyed again in 1978 and 1979 (Hesse 1980). The Missouri Department of Conservation conducted a recreational use survey on the channelized Missouri River from the mouth to the Iowa-Missouri state line in four segments over a four year period from 1983 through 1987 (Fleener 1989). The segment adjacent to Nebraska was sampled in 1985 and 1986 and extended from the lowaMissouri state line downstream to St Joseph, Missouri. The present project examining several reaches of the channelized Missouri River had several objectives:
Develop a creel survey design that when repeated over time would measure changes in recreational fishing activity and success and allow us to estimate the effects of large scale restoration efforts on recreational fishing.
Estimate recreational fishing use.
Estimate the number and species of fish harvested and released by recreational anglers.
Estimate recreational fishing effort on public and private lands and by boating anglers using public and private boat ramps
Correlate fishing effort and success with a combination of season, physical habitat variables (location, macrohabitat, microhabitat, water temperature and secchi disk transparency) and fishing methods (bait)
Develop recreational fishing educational information based on survey results