Fishing Warmwater Streams with Limited Public Access: Angling Behavior, Economic Impact, and the Role of Guadalupe Bass in a Twenty-Four-County Region of Texas
Zachary A. Thomas, Thomas L. Arsuffi, and Stephan J. Magnelia
Abstract.—The Guadalupe Bass Micropterus treculii is a central Texas endemic black bass species occurring only in streams and rivers draining the Edwards Plateau ecoregion. It is designated the state fish of Texas and provides a popular sport fishery. In addition to being a popular sport fish, it is listed as a species of special concern due to habitat degradation and hybridization with Smallmouth Bass M. dolomieu. Past socioeconomic surveys of Texas black bass anglers have focused primarily on reservoir fisheries while little is known about fishing patterns, economic impact, and preferences of river and stream anglers. A Web-based open-access survey was used to determine fishing characteristics, assess attitudes and quantify the economic impact of anglers fishing rivers and streams in a 24-county region of Texas from August 20, 2011 to December 20, 2012, with a focus on anglers who specifically fished for Guadalupe Bass. A total of 700 respondents participated in the survey. More than half of respondents were paddlers targeting black bass, and 42% specifically fished for Guadalupe Bass on their trips. An additional 34% of anglers listed black bass species, which included Guadalupe Bass as their preferred species. Similar to previous surveys of Texas river and stream anglers, access was identified as the largest impediment to the future maintenance and improvement of river and stream fishing. Based on 563 surveys used in the economic impact analysis, using IMPLAN (Impact Analysis for Planning) Professional version 2 (Minnesota IMPLAN Group, Minneapolis), an estimated US$74,182,080 in direct angler expenditures was spent on fishing trips to the study region, resulting in a total economic impact (including indirect and induced impacts) of $71,552,492 and 776 full-time jobs. These findings indicate the economic value of river and stream angling to the Texas economy.