|The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the National Park Service, Upper Delaware
Scenic & Recreational River cooperatively promote an angler catch reporting system to be used throughout the Delaware
River Basin. Our goal was to employ a single catch-logging program for providing a record of catch, harvest
and angler effort. Any angler is welcome to participate in the catch reporting program, reporting is required
of licensed fishing guides who operate businesses on the Upper Delaware River. Provided are highlights of
catch statistics for 2005 and 2006.
In 2005 and 2006 approximately 42 (33 licensed guides, 9 volunteers) and 35 (33 licensed guides, 2 volunteers) anglers, respectively, participated in the logbook program. Boat anglers expended the majority of the reported trips and effort (2005: 1,424 trips, 10,594 hours; 2006: 1,238 trips, 9,180 hours) with fewer trips and effort (2005: 313 trips, 1,442 hours; 2006: 137 trips, 430 hours) being recorded by shore anglers.
Participating anglers caught a variety of fishes. Smallmouth bass (2005: n = 5,147; 2006: n = 3,551) were the most frequently caught fish followed by brown trout (2005: n = 1,961; 2006: n = 2,155), rainbow trout (2005: n = 1,236; 2006: n = 807) and redbreast sunfish (2005: n = 528; 2006: n = 290) in both years. Other species including American shad, channel catfish, common carp, fallfish, white perch, and walleye were also consistently caught in smaller quantities.
Few fishes were reported harvested (2005: n = 96, 2006: n = 124) in either year. Common carp were the most harvested species in either year (2005: n = 37; 2006 n = 95). Other most commonly harvested species were river herring (2005: n = 25; 2006: n = 0), walleye (2005: n = 15; 2006: n = 10), American shad (2005: n = 12, 2006: n = 0), and brown trout (2005: n = 2, 2006: n = 5). We attribute low reported harvest rates to an increasing catch and release ethic among various angler groups.
Highest mean angler catch rates (catch per hour fished) differed between fishes depending on the mode of fishing. For shore anglers, mean catch per hour fished was greatest for striped bass (1.3 fish in two hours fished) and white perch (1.1 fish in three hours fished) in 2005 and redbreast sunfish (1.2 fish in three hours fished) and smallmouth bass (1.1 fish in three hours fished) in 2006; whereas greatest mean catch rates for boat anglers were for smallmouth bass (1.1 and 1.0 fish in three hours fished, 2005 and 2006, respectively), brown trout (2005: 1.1 fish in 7 hours fished, 2006: 1.1 fish in 5 hours fished), and rainbow trout (2005: 1.0 fish in 9 hours fished, 2006: 1.0 fish in 11 hours fished) in both years.
Regardless of fishing mode, mean catch rates for smallmouth bass and walleye have been increasing 43.3% and 75.8%, respectively since 2004 to 2006. Mean catch rates for brown trout from 2004 to 2005 decreased 15.2% and increased 29.9% from 2005 to 2006; whereas mean catch rates for rainbow trout increased 37.8% from 2004 to 2005 but decreased 18.4% from 2005 to 2006. American shad catch rates were similar between 2004 and 2005 but catch rates decrease by 77.4% from 2005 to 2006. In 2005, striped bass mean catch rates increased 84.2% from 2004 and then decreased 99.2% in 2006.
Catch rate values reflect both fishing success and fish density. Fishing success might be influenced by weather and flow conditions and density is influenced by numerous river conditions. In the case of anadromous and catadromous species, ocean harvest and ocean conditions play an important role in fish density.
For more information concerning and/or requesting Delaware River and Estuary Angler Logbooks please contact either Daryl Pierce at the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Fisheries Management Area 5 – Bushkill, PA 570-588- 6388 or Jamie Myers at the National Park Service, Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River, 570-729-7842.
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