Results and Evaluation of An Aerial Creel Survey Technique On Lake Sharpe, South Dakota

Bruce R. Schmidt


A creel survey, consisting of two independent surveys, was conducted on Lake Sharpe, South Dakota from May 1973, through May 1974. An aerial fisherman count was used to estimate fishing pressure and an angler interview survey was used to estimate catch rates, mean party size, mean fisherman day, and residence of the anglers. The results of the two surveys were combined to estimate harvest. The separate surveys allowed optimum stratification and allocation of sampling effort for each. Estimated fishing pressure was 32,643 fisherman-hours, ±. 9.60% at the 95% confidence level, and the total estimated harvest was 113,800 fish, ±. 12.46%, weighing 7.36 x 104 kg (81.05 tons). The mean catch rate for the entire survey was 0.33 fish per fisherman-hour. The survey produced final estimates of catch statistics with a relatively small amount of manpower well within the range of accuracy needed for management decisions. The methods used may prove to be applicable to many other large, open reservoirs with numerous access points.