FALL SAMPLING AIDS ANGLERS, FISHERIES MANAGERS
Data used to compile 2007 Kansas Fishing Forecast, available in January
Each year, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) raises and stocks millions of fish throughout the state, providing anglers with special opportunities to catch a wide variety of fish. Fall is perhaps the busiest time of the year for KDWP fisheries biologists because it's time to sample lakes to determine the health of fisheries. Fall is the best time to sample fish because it’s the end of the growing season.
KDWP biologists have completed sampling and are in the process of compiling information. This data is used for the following year's stocking requests, recommendations for future length and creel limit regulations, other management recommendations, and the annual Fishing Forecast upon which anglers rely.
Across the state, 18 district fisheries biologist annually sample 26 large reservoirs, 40 state fishing lakes, and more than 220 community lakes. In September, fisheries biologists may use electroshocking for bass, and in October and November, gill-nets and traps are used to sample all sportfish. The massive nets are pulled onto a boat and the fish removed. Biologists then separate, count, weigh, and measure each fish, and record all this information, taking care to get the fish back in the water quickly. Netting results are recorded on waterproof paper or a laptop computer.
Computers have made data keeping much more accurate. Biologists can enter data on the water and enter it into the department's Aquatic Data Analysis System (ADAS) when they get back to the office. ADAS allows biologists to enter paper-recorded testing data into the system through a desktop computer or directly from data recorded on a laptop in the field, eliminating paperwork. They can then generate a report immediately that lets them know the population dynamics of the lake tested and make management decisions -- from stocking plans to length and creel limits -- in a timely fashion.
Another innovative tool fisheries biologists use is the Fisheries Analysis and Simulation Tools (FAST) software program, developed in conjunction with 20 other states. This computer application allows the field biologist to use data from the ADAS system and separate age and growth testing to predict what would happen if certain length or creel limits were imposed on a given lake. Tools such as this not only take much of the guesswork out of managing a lake, they allow biologists to spend more time on other projects.
Now that sampling is complete, anglers across Kansas can look forward to the 2007 Kansas Fishing Forecast, which will be available on the KDWP website in January.