Volunteer Angler Logbook Program

Ben Garfield
Photo provided courtesy of Capt. Ben Garfield.

The Volunteer Angler Logbook (VAL) program is primarily geared towards striped bass fishermen as a means of collecting additional length, catch/effort data but is open to anglers who fish for any saltwater species. Although we have increased the sample size of the Access Point Angler Intercept Survey (APAIS), we still miss lengths and weights on sub-legal or released stripers because Maine’s striped bass fishery has size and bag limits. This, coupled with the fact that many anglers opt for catch and release, field interviewers actually see limited numbers of fish. The VAL program is quite simple. An angler records information about fish harvested or released during each trip for themselves and any fishing companions. Additional information about each trip is also recorded, including: time spent fishing, area fished, number of anglers, target species and how much money was spent. At the end of the season each angler mails his/her logbook to us (in a pre-paid mailer), which we then copy and send back to the angler. To sign up for our logbook program, e-mail Chris Uraneck.

A preliminary summary of the 2018 data follows:

One hundred eleven logbooks were distributed during the 2018 fishing season, of which 52 (47%) were returned and summarized. It’s worth noting that 70 (63%) participants responded in some manner at the season’s end, some noting no fishing for the season or lost logbooks.

The following species were reported as being caught: Acadian redfish, American eel, American shad, Atlantic bonito, Atlantic cod, Atlantic herring, Atlantic mackerel, Atlantic menhaden, blue shark, bluefish, catfish, cunner, cusk, haddock, hake, pollock, rainbow smelt, river herring, smallmouth bass, squid, striped bass and white perch.

Effort Data

  • The 52 logbook keepers reported 1,003 fishing trips which, when multiplied by the number of logbook keepers and their fishing companions, resulted in 1,443 individual angler-trips.
  • The 52 logbook keepers reported they and their fishing companions fished for more than 5,000 angler-hours over the course of the season.
  • Of the 1,003 reported fishing trips, 96% (958) targeted striped bass as the primary or secondary target.

Catch Data

  • One striped bass was caught per angler-hour (1.01 striped bass/angler hour) on any trip targeting striped bass as the primary or secondary target (857). See Figure 2.
  • A total of 4,508 striped bass were caught on 723 trips.
  • The highest total was in 2005 when 28,476 striped bass were caught on 2,203 trips.
  • Of the 4,508 striped bass caught in 2018, 3% (113) were kept and 97% (4,395) were released.
  • Nine percent (380) of the stripers with estimated or measured lengths were greater than or equal to 28 inches. Of these 31% were kept and 69% were released.
  • The average size for measured striped bass was 20 inches.  The largest was 46 inches and the smallest was 9 inches.  See Figure 1.
  • Ninety one percent (3,797) of the striped bass with estimated or measured lengths were not legal size. See Table 1.


Table 1. Percent of 2018 Maine striped bass less than or greater than or equal to 28 inches.

Size

Estimated

Measured

Total

Percent

Less than 28”

1,072

2,725

3,797

91%

Greater than or equal to 28"

84

296

380

9%

Figure 1.  2018 Maine striped bass size distribution.

2018 striped bass length frequency

 

Figure 2.  Historical trends in Maine's striped bass catch rates.

Historical Trends in Maine's striped bass catch rate