Stocking fish is a common method of enhancing the perceived recreational value of a fishery. In New York, the State Department of Environmental Conservation stocks approximately 2.3 million catchable-size trout every year. These hatchery-raised fish augment wild populations with the goal of improving fishing opportunities
My work focused on creating and improving models that predict the dynamics of stream trout populations during the fishing season. These models take into account angler behavior, as well as natural causes of mortality, such as predation, that drive changes in the number of catchable fish present at a given time. The goal is to fine tune the time and density of stocking to create ample fishing opportunities throughout the season while minimizing expenditures and the impact to native fish communities.
More information about this study can be found in the published report. This project also spurred investigations into the appropriate methods to use when interpreting creel survey data which can be found here.