Harlan Reservoir

2012 Angler Survey Summary
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Brad Newcomb, District Manager

An angler survey was completed at Harlan Reservoir from April through October 2012. During that time period, angler counts and interviews were completed on 20 days per month, which included 14 weekdays and 6 weekend days. A total of 138 days were surveyed with 1,092 interviews. Angler surveys provide estimates of angling effort, catch and harvest, catch per hour, and sizes of fish caught. From 1990 to 2000, angler surveys were completed annually, but changed to an alternate year format from 2002 to 2008. Starting in 2009, a contract for annual angler surveys at Harlan was planned through 2013. The following text and graphs contain this year’s survey information with comparison to past years.

Fishing Effort Summary
An estimated 36,229 angler trips were made to Harlan Reservoir during the seven month survey period in 2012, which continued an upward trend the last two years. Anglers spent 183,292 hours fishing (14hrs/acre), with the average trip lasting 5.0 hours. The following Nebraska counties contributed the most Harlan anglers: Harlan (18%), Adams (15%), Buffalo (15%), Lancaster (6%), Phelps (7%), Franklin (4%), and Hall (4%). Non-residents made up 4% of all anglers.

Total Angler Trips per Year
40000 35000 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 0

Angler Trips

1999

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2012 Harlan Reservoir Angler Survey - Page 1

Fishing Effort by Month
May and June had the highest angler use, and the months of May through August accounted for 97% of the fishing effort during the seven month survey period. Excellent white bass fishing throughout the spring and summer months contributed to high fishing pressure in May through August..

Fishing Effort Per Month - 2012
60000 50000
Hours / Trips
A ngler Trips A ngler Ho urs

40000 30000 20000 10000 0
April M ay June July August September October

Fish Species Sought by Anglers
Fish species sought by anglers varied by month, with many anglers seeking walleye early. Most anglers sough white bass in July and August. Over the entire survey period, 28% of Harlan anglers sought white bass, 31% sought walleye, 16% sought channel catfish, 3% sought crappie, and 20% fished for anything.

Species Sought by Month - 2012
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%
A nything Walleye Crappie Channel catfish White bass

April

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

2012 Harlan Reservoir Angler Survey - Page 2

Channel Catfish
Harvest and release of channel catfish in 2012 was much higher than the previous few years. A total of 16,113 catfish were harvested and 25,148 released. There were 836 catfish measured during the survey, with an average length of 19 inches, and range of 8 to 30 inches. The total catch rate for anglers seeking channel catfish was 0.91 fish/ hour, with a harvest rate of 0.43 fish/hour.
Channel Catfish Caught Per Year
25000 20000 1 5000 1 0000 5000 0
1999 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Number Released Number Harvested

Number of fish

Channel Catfish Caught Per Month - 2012
10000

Number of fish

Monthly catch of catfish peaked in July, with the best catches in May through August.

8000 6000 4000 2000 0

Number Released Number Harvested

April

May

June

July

August

Sept ember

Oct ober

Crappie
Anglers harvested about the same number of crappie in 2012 as the previous year, and at a much higher level from the period from 2006 through 2010. Estimated crappie harvest in 2012 was 4,448, with 4,051 released. Crappie anglers caught 1.94 crappie per hour, and harvested 1.1 crappie per hour. There was excellent crappie recruitment with high water levels from 2007 to early 2012. Lower water levels at the end of 2012 may have negative impacts on future crappie recruitment and affect distribution of crappie for anglers.
Crappie Caught Per Year
Number Released Number Harvest ed

1 0000 9000 8000 7000 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1 000 0

+

+

Number of fish

1999

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Crappie Caught Per Month - 2012

Crappie catch had two peaks in 2012, with good success early in April-May, then again in AugustSeptember. Because of lower water levels toward the end of 2012, there was reduced late season (October) success at the dam, Gremlin Cove, and Patterson Harbor compared to the previous year.

2000

Number of fish

1500 1000 500 0
April May June

Number Released Number Harvested

July

August

Sept ember

Oct ober

2012 Harlan Reservoir Angler Survey - Page 3

Walleye
Angler walleye catch improved again in 2012. Estimated harvest (4,863) was the highest recorded from the last 10 angler surveys. Estimated release (6,165) was also higher than the last few years. Catch per hour for walleye anglers was 0.21 walleye per hour with a harvest rate of 0.07 fish per hour. That equates to walleye anglers averaging 4.7 hours to catch a walleye, and 14.3 hours to harvest a walleye. Improved walleye recruitment from 2009 through 2012, and reduced flooded vegetation over time will contribute to good walleye fishing success in future years.
Walleye Caught Per Year
10000

+

+

+

Number of fish

8000 6000 4000 2000 0
1999 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008

Number Released Number Harvested

2009

2010

2011

2012

Walleye Caught Per Month
3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0
April May June July August Sept ember Oct ober

Number of fish

This graph contains lengths of walleye collected by the creel survey clerk. Harvested walleye ranged from 15 to 31 inches, with an average of 18.8 inches (252 walleye were measured). Compliance with the walleye size limit was very good, with only two harvested walleye under 15 inches encountered during the angler survey. Walleye from 15-18 inches made up 55% of the harvest and 41% of released walleye.

Number of fish

May was easily the best walleye fishing month in 2012, followed by June and July. May contributed 44% of the walleye harvested and released for the survey period in 2012.

Number Released Number Harvested

Walleyes Lengths - 2012 Angler Survey
300 250 200 150 100 50 0 <15 15-18 18-21 21-24 24-27 27+
Release Harvest

Length Range (inches)

2012 Harlan Reservoir Angler Survey - Page 4

White Bass
There was an extremely high catch and harvest of white bass in 2012. Both number of released and harvested white bass were the highest from the last ten angler surveys. There were an estimated 112,751 white bass harvested, and 145,696 released in 2012. Catch rates for anglers seeking white bass were also very good, with 2.75 fish caught per hour and 1.30 harvested per hour. Despite the high harvest, NGPC survey work from the fall of 2012 indicates consistent white bass recruitment and a high population with good sizes available. Anglers should expect good white bass fishing in future years.

White Bass Caught Per Year
150000 140000 130000 120000 110000 100000 90000 80000 70000 60000 50000 40000 30000 20000 10000 0
19 9 9 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008

Number Released Number Harvested

Number of fish

2009

2 0 10

2 0 11

2 0 12

White Bass Caught Per Month - 2012
50000 40000 30000 20000 10000 0
April May June July August Sept ember Oct ober

White bass fishing was extremely good in May through August, with the peak in July.

Number of fish

Number Released Number Harvested

White Bass Lengths - 2012 Angler Survey
2000

+
Release Harvest

This graph contains lengths of white bass collected by the creel survey clerk. Harvested white bass ranged from 8 to 17 inches, with an average of 11.8 inches (3,818 measured). White bass from 10-12 inches made up 56% of the harvest in 2012. White bass over 12 inches made up 41% of the harvest.

Number of Fish

1500 1000 500 0 <9 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

16

17+

Length Group (inches)

2012 Harlan Reservoir Angler Survey - Page 5

Wipers
Angler catch and harvest of wipers continued an upward swing in 2012. Low wiper catches from 2006 through 2010 were the result of no wiper stockings from 2000 through 2004. Recent wiper stockings in 2005, 2008, and 2011 are resulting in improved wiper fishing. In 2012, there was an estimated 952 wipers harvested and 613 released. Harvested wipers ranged from 13 to 28 inches long, with an average of 20.5 inches (42 measured).
Wipers Caught Per Year
2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0
19 9 9 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2009 2 0 10 2 0 11 2 0 12

Number of fish

Number Released Number Harvested

Wipers Caught Per Month - 2012
500

Number of fish

400 300 200 100 0
April May June July

Number Released Number Harvested

May was the best month for wiper fishing, with July and August both contributing good catches.

August

Sept ember

Oct ober

New Fishing Regulations for 2013
Several new fishing regulations went into effect on January 1, 2013 that may effect Harlan anglers:

White bass, striped bass, and striped bass hybrids: The one-over daily bag restriction was
lowered from 18 inches to 16 inches to provide more protection for wipers. The new regulation states the daily bag limit for white bass, striped bass, and their hybrids (combined) can contain only one fish 16 inches or longer - statewide.

Channel catfish: The daily bag limit for channel catfish was increased to 10 on rivers, streams, and
canals, but the daily bag limit of five was retained on reservoirs, lakes, and ponds. The possession limit for channel catfish was increased from 10 to 20.

Aquatic Invasive Species: Any conveyance (boat) that has been on a waterbody must drain all
water from their compartments, equipment, or containers before leaving the launch area. All aquatic vegetation from that waterbody must be removed before leaving the launch area.

Please refer to a current copy of the Nebraska Fishing Guide for more information.

2012 Harlan Reservoir Angler Survey - Page 6

Miscellaneous Species
Seven other fish species were well-represented in the 2012 angler catch, with freshwater drum the most numerous. Largemouth bass and bluegill catch were higher than past surveys, likely a result of high water levels and improved shoreline habitat. The improved largemouth bass population has generated increased fishing pressure for bass, including several tournaments. In 2012, anglers harvested 331 largemouth bass and released 2,694 largemouth bass. Anglers seeking bass caught 0.56 fish per hour.

2012 Harlan Reservoir Catch by Species
10000
Release Harvest

Number of Fish

1000

100

10

Largemouth bass

Common carp

1

For additional information about fisheries management at Harlan Reservoir, please contact the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission office in Kearney at 308-865-5310 or by email at the addresses listed below. District Manager: Brad Newcomb: brad.newcomb@nebraska.gov Biologist: Brad Eifert: brad.eifert@nebraska.gov

Freshwater drum

2012 Harlan Reservoir Angler Survey - Page 7

Northern pike

Flathead catfish

Bluegill

Black bullhead

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