Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Wildlife and Fisheries Resources

Committee Chair

Chad D. Pierskalla.


West Virginia places an emphasis on fishing as a way to increase nature-based tourism. However, heavy fishing pressure on public water and unequal fishing effort at stocking locations can lead to declining catch rates and an increasing number of visitors that experience catch deprivation and dissatisfaction. Controlling access to streams is one approach to dealing with this carrying capacity issue. Both public and private land managers have approached this problem differently using various levels of control. For example, Pipestem State Park managers provided anglers with access to the Bluestone River with few controls via an aerial tramway prior to 2009. In recent years, the park has controlled access by stocking trout at the beginning of the shoulder season (November-April) when the tram is closed, thus limiting access to the river via a strenuous 4 mile hike on steep terrain. At Harman's North Fork Cottages, access is controlled on private land. Only guests that stay in the luxury log cabins are given easy and nearby access to a stocked segment of river. The purpose of this study is to compare the success, satisfaction, and perceived crowding of four stream fishing venues that fall along a spectrum of access from completely open access to closed, invitation only access. A total of 154 adult anglers completed an on-site interview. Indicators of fishing success (e.g., Catch Per Unit Effort) and economic impact of stocking strategies will be compared among the fishing venues. Catch Per Unit Effort values were found to be significantly different from one venue to another, while acceptability of catch was found not to be. The catch rate normative curve developed from this information is included, which shows the preferred and minimally acceptable catch rates for each different fishing venue. Additionally, significant differences were found in the number of anglers observed fishing on the stream by other anglers is reported, as it addresses the issue of perceived crowding and social carrying capacity.