Testing and Refining the Assumptions of Put-and-Take Rainbow Trout Fisheries in Alberta


William F. Patterson and Michael G. Sullivan


Routledge Informa Ltd; Human Dimensions of Wildlife 18:340-354; 2013


Stocking catchable-size trout to create sport fisheries is based on a simple conceptual model: stocking more fish creates better fisheries that attract more anglers. Organizations typically stock variable densities of fish (i.e., cost) and expect correlated responses in catch rate and angler effort (i.e., benefit). We tested the assumptions inherent in stocked rainbow trout fisheries in Alberta and found no correlation between these costs and benefits of stocking. Rather, stocking low or high densities of trout created low-density stocks that supported low-catch-rate fisheries, but attracted many anglers if catch rates exceeded 0.08 trout/angler-hr and lakes were close to anglers’ homes.
We propose a fiscally responsible model of stocking (i.e., stock minimum numbers of fish to remain above an optimal catch rate at lakes selected to attract anglers) that allows managers to either increase stocking sites or reduce stocking costs while maintaining angler effort.