Title: A survey of sport fish use on the Copper River Delta, Alaska.
Author: Lang, Dirk W.
Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-814. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 47 p.
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Description: Aerial counts, in-person interviews, and mail-in questionnaires were used to survey sport fish use during the coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch Walbaum) season on the Copper River Delta, Alaska from 2002 through 2006. Angler counts provided an index of use on individual streams and were used to develop a spatial database exhibiting patterns of use. In-person interviews and mail-in questionnaires were used to determine the effort, catch, and harvest of coho salmon by both local residents of Cordova and nonresident anglers. The estimated annual effort for nonresidents ranged from 5,230 to 5,663 angler-days from 2004 through 2006. The highest use occurred in 2005, and it appears that use has risen since 2002, but has remained relatively constant since 2004. Total annual effort for Cordova residents sport fishing on the West Copper River Delta ranged from 2,372 to 4,720 anglerdays from 2004 through 2006, and steadily declined over the 3 years. Sport fish use was concentrated on three stream systems of the West Copper River Delta: Eyak River, Ibeck Creek, and Alaganik Slough. Other streams had little to no use. Anglers were generally not found to use areas of streams with key spawning habitats. Coho salmon was the targeted species, and nonresident anglers caught and harvested more fish than Cordova resident anglers. Nonresident angler catches ranged from 15,192 to 28,473 coho salmon and harvests ranged from 6,887 to 10,554 coho salmon over 3 years. Annual catch and harvest of coho salmon by Cordova residents ranged from 2,116 to 6,033 and from 1,454 to 3,493 fish, respectively. For both groups, catch and harvest was highest in 2004 and decreased through time. Selective harvest (catch-and-release) was widely practiced. Visiting anglers released 56 percent of the coho salmon they caught, whereas Cordova residents released approximately 33 percent of their catch. The information provided with this survey will be used to assist in management of the area. Some examples of applications include directing habitat monitoring and protection efforts, focusing interpretive and educational materials toward the correct user population, evaluating human use capacities, assessing access and infrastructure needs, and permitting guides.
Keywords: recreational use, coho salmon, angler survey, sport fish, Copper River Delta
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Lang, Dirk W. 2010. A survey of sport fish use on the Copper River Delta, Alaska. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-814. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 47 p.
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