Utilization Survey of a Rural Creek Fishery in Central Alabama

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A one-year angler intercept survey was conducted on Choccolocco Creek, a rural, limited access tributary to the Coosa River in northeastern Alabama. The purpose of the survey was to collect data and information about the behaviors and fish consumption habits of the recreational anglers who fish there. Nine survey locations were included in the stratified sampling plan, and sampling occurred throughout daylight hours, on weekdays and weekends/holidays, during all four seasons of the year. Surveys were completed on a total of 101 survey days between June 28, 2008 and June 27, 2009.6 Seventy-two anglers were observed fishing during the survey period, and 52 (72%) of those individuals agreed to participate in the survey. Based on the information collected by the survey clerks, the angler population fishes the Creek between 1 and 54 times per year, with an average frequency of seven trips per year. The average number of months fished was three months per year, with a range of one to nine months. Only 15% of the anglers who participated in the survey (eight individuals) had succeeded in catching fish by the end of their trips, and only four of those individuals (8%) had retained any of the fish they had caught for consumption. Reasons provided for not retaining fish were that they either only fished for sport, did not catch enough fish to eat, or the fish they caught were too small to keep. Because so few anglers used and harvested fish from the resource, fish consumption rates could not be determined with a high degree of confidence. However, from these limited data it was estimated that the three anglers for whom consumption rates could be estimated had annualized average daily fish consumption rates of 0.14, 0.44, and 7.9 grams per day (g/day). The majority of anglers traveled less than 10 miles to fish the Creek. It was estimated that a total population of 173 anglers use the Creek each year. The results of this survey indicated that Choccolocco Creek is a local fishery that is not heavily used by area residents.

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