Fort Peck Angler Creel Survey Underway
Anglers on Fort Peck Reservoir this summer may be asked a few questions about their fishing experience when they come off the water.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is conducting an angling “creel” survey at one of the state’s largest and most popular warm water fisheries. The information collected help biologists understand angler catch rates of popular game fish and determine level of satisfaction with the fishery.
The data-gathering surveys will be based at marinas and boat ramps around the reservoir. Creel clerks will ask several questions about the day’s fishing and measure any fish kept. Some of the questions may include where the angler is from, how long did they fish, and what species did they catch or keep, etc.
“The interview is short and shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes,” said Fort Peck Reservoir fisheries biologist Heath Headley.
According to Headley, detailed information gathered from these surveys is important and helps FWP better manage the Fort Peck fisheries by providing information on fishing pressure, size of fish harvested, and angler catch rates.
“This data is used in conjunction with netting surveys to better understand the health and performance of the reservoir fishery,” adds Headley.
The last creel survey on Fort Peck Reservoir was conducted in the summer of 2021 when nearly 2,500 anglers were interviewed. Walleye were the most targeted species followed by Chinook salmon. Consistently, surveys reveal that angler catch rates for most game fish species peak in late June/early July and decline in August and September. The decrease in angler catch rates in the fall are heavily influenced by forage availability.
“Even if you have a tough day on the water and don’t catch many fish, that information is very important,” adds Headley. “We’d like to thank all anglers in advance for their time and participation and wish everyone the best of luck fishing this summer.”
If there are any questions, please contact Headley at 406-526-3471, or email hheadley@ mt.gov