Recreational use, social and economic characteristics of the Smith River and Philpott Reservoir fisheries, Virginia
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I used on-site interviews and angler counts to estimate angler effort, catch and harvest rates, and total catch and total harvest. On the Smith River, angling pressure per km was most intense in the special management area, with most use occurring on weekend days. Anglers harvested approximately 90% of the rainbow trout they caught, and 63% of the rainbow trout stocked during the study period. Anglers harvested only 5% of the brown trout they caught. Philpott Reservoir was overwhelmingly a nonconsumptive black bass fishery (anglers harvested only 9% of the black bass they caught). I also estimated net economic value of both fisheries using the travel cost method (TCM) and contingent valuation method (CVM). In addition to estimating net economic value for the fisheries under current fishing conditions, I also explored changes in economic value under different fishing scenarios and alternative flow regimes. On the Smith River, doubling an angler's chance of catching a large trout (> 16 in.) had the highest net economic value of any scenario in all three river sections. The wild trout scenario had the highest net economic value in the special management area. On Philpott Reservoir, doubling an angler's chance of catching a black bass had the highest net economic value. Total economic value (including angler expenditures) of both fisheries was $656,140, only $13,000 less than the value of power produced at Philpott Dam during Fiscal Year 1995.
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