In 2010, volunteer muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) angler diary program information was collected by anglers participating in a Lake Erie Management Unit (MNR) sponsored program as well as volunteer anglers affiliated with Muskies Canada Inc. (MCI). The 2010 program represented the 32nd consecutive year that MCI members have collected and provided information on their muskellunge angling activities. A total of 187 MCI anglers participated in the 2010 program.
Anglers reported expending a total of 17,999 rod hours of effort directed at muskellunge in 2010. The most heavily fished waters were the Ottawa River (2,550 hours), St. Lawrence River (2,263 hours), Lake St. Clair (2,134 hours), Lake Nipissing (1,029 hours), and Lake of the Woods (1,025 hours). A total of 946 muskellunge were landed in 2010. Based on the reported angling effort, the overall catch-per-unit-of-effort (CUE) was 0.053 fish/rod hour. All but two angled muskellunge were released alive. Records were submitted from a total of 65 different Ontario waterbodies. This is the largest number of waterbodies since the program began in 1979.
Angled muskellunge ranged in size from 15-56 inches in total length. The mean length of angled muskellunge in 2010 was 36.0 inches. Based on volunteer angler logs maintained by members of Muskies Inc. (MI) (Bunch 2011) and Muskies Canada Inc. (MCI), there were 159 muskellunge exceeding 50 inches in length which were angled from 24 Ontario waters in 2010 (Table 2). Based on this information, the largest muskellunge reported during the 2010 angling season was a 57.0 inch fish taken from the Ottawa River.
Angler diary programs (n=46, 1979–1997) implemented in Ontario by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources are reviewed, and the different uses of angler diary programmes, levels of participation and differences in programme design are reported. In Ontario, angler diary use is common, but successful application is limited. This review revealed a variety of uses and approaches for administering angler diary programmes. Problems arise when programmes are initiated without the complete commitment of the administrators and agency, or when there is no regular review so adaptive changes can be made. If administrators realize the potential biases and problems associated with diaries, and design programmes to control them, angler diaries can provide favourable cost-effective results. With reduced funding and staffing constraints, angler diary programmes could become the primary method of data collection for specialized and remote fisheries
In 2011, information was collected from four volunteer muskellunge angler diary programs in Ontario. These included MNR-sponsored programs on Lake of the Woods and Lake St. Clair as well as Muskies Canada Inc’s (MCI) and Muskies Inc. (MI) ongoing volunteer programs. The 2011 program represented the 33rd consecutive year that MCI anglers have participated in this volunteer activity. A total of 178 MCI anglers participated in the 2011 program and reported angling activities on 62 different Ontario waterbodies. A total of 408 Muskies Inc. members provided information on 4,734 muskellunge angled from 62 different Ontario waterbodies in 2011. The majority (3,728 records, 78.7%) of these records originated from either Lake St. Clair or Lake of the Woods. In a few instances reported information was not included because the lake could not be verified. The annual Lake St. Clair program was coordinated by the Lake Erie Management Unit. Six volunteer anglers were involved in the 2011 program. – The MNR Lake of the Woods Program, conducted on a regular five year cycle, was coordinated by the Lake of the Woods Fisheries Assessment Unit. Participants in the Lake of the Woods Fisheries Assessment Unit program were guests at one of five lodges on the lake.
Volunteer anglers reported angling results from a total of 92 different Ontario waterbodies in 2011. This is the largest number of individual waters since the program began. Most of these new waters were in northwestern Ontario with information being provided by Muskies Inc. as well as the new northwestern Ontario chapter of Muskies Canada Inc. Anglers participating in the 2011 program reported 20,812.2 rod hours of angling effort. Those same anglers reported catching a total of 1,235 muskellunge. This represents an angling success rate of 0.059 fish per rod hour. Only one muskellunge was reported as harvested. All other angled fish were released. The most heavily fished water in 2011 was Lake of the Woods (Table 2) with 5,173.25 rod hours of reported effort. This may be attributed to the fact that MNR had a volunteer angler diary program on that water in 2011.
This report consolidates volunteer angler diary information, collected from a variety of sources over a period of more than forty years, to provide an overview of muskellunge sport fisheries in Ontario. Based on reported angling effort it is obvious that muskellunge are becoming an increasingly popular species. Muskellunge catches were found to be strongly correlated with reported angling effort. Angling success, in terms of catch-per-unit-effort, has improved over the past twenty-five years and Ontario waters now provide some of the highest quality muskellunge fisheries in North America. Muskellunge in excess of 50 inches are captured from several waters each year. It is expected that the next world record muskellunge will be angled from somewhere in Ontario. Voluntary release rates of muskellunge among muskellunge anglers have also increased over the past two decades to the point where approximately 98% of all angled muskellunge are now released after capture. Overall, Ontario’s muskellunge fisheries appear to be stable and sustainable. This can be attributed to an increase in the catch-and-release ethic as well as new minimum size limit regulations. Volunteer angler diary programs should continue to be used to monitor the status of Ontario’s muskellunge fisheries in the future.
We present a framework of resource characteristics critical to the design and assessment of citizen science programs that monitor natural resources. To develop the framework we reviewed 52 citizen science programs that monitored a wide range of resources and provided insights into what resource characteristics are most conducive to developing citizen science programs and how resource characteristics may constrain the use or growth of these programs. We focused on 4 types of resource characteristics: biophysical and geographical, management and monitoring, public awareness and knowledge, and social and cultural characteristics. We applied the framework to 2 programs, the Tucson (U.S.A.) Bird Count and the Maui (U.S.A.) Great Whale Count. We found that resource characteristics such as accessibility, diverse institutional involvement in resource management, and social or cultural importance of the resource affected program endurance and success. However, the relative influence of each characteristic was in turn affected by goals of the citizen science programs. Although the goals of public engagement and education sometimes complimented the goal of collecting reliable data, in many cases trade-offs must be made between these 2 goals. Program goals and priorities ultimately dictate the design of citizen science programs, but for a program to endure and successfully meet its goals, program managers must consider the diverse ways that the nature of the resource being monitored influences public participation in monitoring.
We implemented a statewide volunteer angler diary program for the 1995 fishing season to determine whether angler diaries can provide data that are useful for the management of the principal sport fishes in waters throughout Mississippi. Of 1,153 anglers volunteering to participate, 224 (19%) returned diaries with at least one recorded fishing trip that was usable for data analysis. We found no significant (P < 0.05) correlations between angler diary catch per unit effort (CPUE; fish/h) and creel survey or electrofishing CPUE for black bass Micropterus spp. and crappies Pomoxis spp. The length distributions of black bass reported by anglers were similar to those obtained from electrofishing samples at five of seven reservoirs when fish smaller than 250 mm were excluded from the comparisons. The length distributions of crappies obtained from diary reports were different from those obtained from electrofishing samples. Low participation by anglers for catfish (Ictaluridae) and sunfish Lepomis spp. precluded similar analyses for those species. The participating anglers differed from the general angling public in Mississippi, possibly biasing estimates of catch rate. Although angler diaries may have value for monitoring angler catch rate trends for diverse types of anglers and in numerous water bodies, our results show that angler diary data should not be used to replace traditional fishery assessment data.