A Comparison of Telephone, Mail and Creel Survey Results for Angler Success and Time Spent Fishing in Six New Mexico Lakes
Statewide telephone estimates of angler success and fishing effort from April 1988 through March 1991 were compared with the results of a statewide mail survey and a creel (field) survey at six lakes in northern New Mexico. About 1,350 telephone interviews were completed annually using monthly random calls to all New Mexico households. Survey forms were mailed annually following each license year to a 10-percent random sample of licensed anglers. Over 4,000 survey forms per year (about 22%) were returned. A two-part access point creel survey was conducted at parking lots, where angler success and effort were measured upon return from fishing, and at road exits from the sites, where number of fishing trips per year were estimated. Telephone and mail survey estimates of sportfish harvest/hour (HPUE) did not significantly differ and estimates of both statewide methods similarly exceeded creel survey estimates. The mean estimates of total annual harvest resulting from the telephone surveys were greater than the mail and creel survey estimates. Despite overestimated HPUE by the mail survey, mail survey estimates of mean annual harvest were similar to the creel survey estimates because total annual effort was underestimated by the mail survey. Telephone estimates of HPUE and the angler hours fished per trip exceeded the creel survey estimates. Errors may have occurred because of poor recall and telephoned angler confusion of party harvest with individual harvest.