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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Steven R. Chipps


fisheries, south dakota, anglers, fish resources


While population growth and urbanization rapidly increases, angler participation (particularly among younger age groups) and expenditures are steadily decreasing worldwide. These trends are even witnessed in South Dakota, which remains a largely rural state. Declines in angler participation and expenditures significantly impact natural resource management. Since the late 1960s, urban fishery programs have been used in some states to help increase angler participation and recruitment of new anglers. No formal urban fishery program currently exists in South Dakota, and no standardized assessments have been conducted. Information is currently lacking about what anglers value in South Dakota‘s urban fisheries and anglers may not be having key motivations met. Management of urban fisheries in South Dakota has typically occurred ancillary to other fisheries. Assessments of fish assemblages have not been conducted on urban waters. Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) are present in many South Dakota urban fisheries but little is known regarding the status of these populations and if these populations may be improved through specific management actions. The objectives of this study were to: 1) determine angler demographics and use of urban fisheries in eastern South Dakota, 2) to evaluate factors associated with angler satisfaction, 3) to compare population attributes of managed and unmanaged (urban) largemouth bass fisheries in eastern South Dakota, and 4) to determine if urban largemouth bass fisheries might be improved with the implementation of management regulations or through water quality or habitat manipulation. To address the first two objectives, we conducted a creel survey over 13 months from April 2009 to October 2010. A total of 718 interviews were completed on five urban fisheries located in Brookings, South Dakota. Angler use of urban fisheries was substantial. Total angler hours was estimated at 22,426 h (SE = 3,107). Of this, 21,359 angler hours (SE = 2,931) occurred during the open water period and accounted for 95% of all angler hours. Total angler hours ranged from 2,791 h (SE=578) on Gustafson‘s Pond to 6,073 hours (SE=1,028) on Southbrook East. Angler effort, as indexed by number of angling h/ha varied among lakes ranging from 303 h/ha (SE=64) on Gustafson‘s Pond to 4,622 h/ha (SE=1,613) on Indian Hills pond. Urban fisheries attracted a younger cohort overall than the statewide average for South Dakota (X2=57.08, df=4, P<0.001) with 81% of urban anglers under the age of 40 in comparison to 34% of anglers statewide. Bank fishing was the most popular type of fishing followed by ice fishing and then boat fishing. ―Closeness to home‖ (68%) was the most common response given by anglers as the reason for fishing urban waters. Brookings residents accounted for 85% of the parties interviewed, and 94% of anglers interviewed were South Dakota residents. Satisfaction was high on all waters, ranging from 63% on Gustafson‘s Pond to 86% at Indian Hills Pond. Logistic regression analysis revealed that catch rate (fish caught/h.), party size, open water angler (yes or no), and trout angler (yes or no) were significantly related to angler satisfaction, though the importance of each variable differed by age. ―Young‖ anglers (<25 years) placed greater importance on party size and familiarity with the lake being fished, while―experienced‖ anglers (>40 years) only valued catch rates. These results confirm that different groups of anglers do indeed have different interests important to achieving high angler satisfaction, so amenities may need to vary by location to meet the demands of a diverse urban population. To address the final two objectives, I calculated population estimates as well as common population indices to describe the structure and dynamics of urban largemouth bass populations and made comparisons with populations from managed lakes and impoundments in eastern South Dakota. I also collected water quality and aquatic habitat data to determine if these characteristics are limiting urban largemouth bass populations. Largemouth bass population estimates varied appreciably, ranging from 53 ± 5 (95% CI) in Gustafson‘s Pond to 360 ± 16 in Southbrook East (Table 3-5). Population estimates fell between the lower and mid-range of estimates from South Dakota small impoundments and were all lower than the mean (552 ± 292) for these waters. However, relative abundance of largemouth bass was not significantly different between unmanaged urban waters and intensively managed lakes (F14=0.45, P=0.52). Density estimates were lower than those from South Dakota small impoundments on all study lakes other than Southbrook East, ranging from 12/ ha ± 1 (95% CI) in Gustafson‘s Pond to 164/ha ± 7 in Southbrook East. Proportional size distribution of largemouth bass was not significantly different between unmanaged urban lakes and intensively managed fisheries (F14=0.09, P=0.77). In comparison with managed largemouth bass populations, proportional size distribution of preferred length largemouth bass from unmanaged urban populations were not significantly different (F14=0.01, P=0.94). Relative weight was significantly lower in unmanaged urban largemouth bass populations than in managed populations (F14=5.18, P=0.04). Recruitment was variable with each population exhibiting strong and weak year classes. Growth (mean back calculated length at age four) was significantly faster on managed waters relative to unmanaged urban largemouth bass populations (F14=5.04, P=0.04).

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Fishing -- South Dakota
City dwellers -- Recreation -- South Dakota
Fishers -- South Dakota -- Attitudes
Largemouth bass -- South Dakota
Fishery management -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (page 68-81)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2011 Michael Joseph Greiner. All rights reserved.