February 7, 2012
MADISON - Anglers, perhaps more than most, know that persistence pays off, so state trout managers hope 1,000 randomly selected trout anglers will show plenty of it when opening and answering a thick survey arriving in their mail in coming weeks.
"It's a lengthy survey, but we're asking anglers to please take the time to fill it out and send it back in," says Marty Engel, the Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist coordinating the effort.
"It's been 23 years since we last did a statewide survey of trout anglers, and we want to fully understand the average angler's perception of inland trout management, whether we're doing a good job, and what the anglers want out of their fishing so we can tailor regulations to those desires," he says. "Our intent is to manage the fish for the angler."
The mail surveys are part of DNR's ongoing review of the inland trout program and efforts to collect information from trout anglers to better conduct that review and shape the management program. The survey was mailed to 1,000 people who purchased inland trout stamps for 2011. The names were selected from the entire database of Wisconsin residents with inland trout stamps in 2011, according to Jordan Petchenik, the DNR social science researcher leading the mail survey.
Anglers receiving the survey are asked questions about all aspects of trout fishing and management in Wisconsin, and also are asked about the where, when and how many fish they caught and harvested last year.
A similar questionnaire was available at public information meetings held last March and April, and anglers could also have filled out that questionnaire online through the fishing season.
"The open house and online surveys provided an opportunity for anyone and everyone to offer their input," says Jordan Petchenik, a DNR social science researcher. "The purpose of the mail survey we're sending out now is so that we can say with statistical certainty that the results are representative of the trout fishing public."
Petchenik hopes to have those survey results available later this spring. In coming weeks, he hopes to have available results from a related survey, this one of people who had not bought an inland trout stamp in several years to learn why they were no longer trout fishing in Wisconsin. Returns from that survey are being summarized and will be available later this year.
Engel says that once all of the surveys are analyzed and summarized, DNR will have scientific information to begin addressing any need for change. "Such a scientific approach will help us sort out public opinion and perceptions on whether there is a need for change, in what areas, and whether we're talking a big change or just tweaking something."
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Scot Stewart 608-219-6514; Marty Engel, for the trout review process 715-684-2914; Jordan Petchenik on the mail survey 608-266-8523