Volunteer Angler Logbook Program

logbook

The Volunteer Angler Logbook (VAL) program is primarily geared toward striped bass anglers, but it is open to anglers who fish for any saltwater species, and serves as a means of collecting additional length, catch & effort data. Striped bass data is also submitted annually to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which oversees Atlantic coast striped bass populations. Although we have increased the sample size of the Access Point Angler Intercept Survey (APAIS) an in-person survey of recreational fishermen done in the field, our staff sees a limited number of striped bass due to Maine’s striped bass size and bag limits, and anglers opting for catch and release. Therefore, the VAL program provides data that is vital for the successful management of striped bass which is not captured by the APAIS survey.

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, and target species. Striped bass length data coming in from volunteer anglers, provides us a broader view of striper catch (released as well as harvested).

To sign up for the Volunteer Angler Logbook program, please contact Victoria Batter by e-mail or by phone at 350-7354

There are two options for participating in the program. In one, anglers record data in a printed logbook that will be mailed on request. At the end of the season each angler mails their logbook to us (in a pre-paid mailer), which we then copy and send back to the angler.

New for 2021, an app, Survey123, is also available for anglers who prefer to record data electronically.

Survey123 can be downloaded to a computer or smart phone, allowing anglers to fill out and save data while in non-service areas and then upload the completed survey to DMR once cell service/wifi is available. Download and step-by-step instructions for the eVAL are available here.

A preliminary summary of the 2020 data follows:

118 logbooks were distributed during the 2020 fishing season, of which 47 (40%) were returned and summarized. It’s worth noting that 60 (51%) 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, Atlantic cod, Atlantic mackerel, Atlantic menhaden, catfish, cunner, cusk, eel, haddock, hake, herring, horseshoe crab, lobster, pollock, sculpin, sea run brown trout, smelt, striped bass, and squid.

Effort data

  • The 47 logbook keepers reported 1,294 fishing trips which, when multiplied by the number of logbook keepers and their fishing companions, resulted in 1,868 individual angler-trips.
  • The 47 logbook keepers reported that they and their fishing companions fished over 5,500 angler-hours over the course of the season.
  • Of the 1,294 reported fishing trips, 98% (1,272) targeted striped bass as the primary or secondary target.

Catch data - striped bass

  • Two striped bass was caught per angler-hour (2.15 sb/angler-hr) on all trips with complete catch information (number of anglers and hours fishing) targeting striped bass as the primary or secondary target (1,129 trips).
  • A total of 7,349 striped bass were caught on 1,039 trips. The highest total was in 2005 when 28,476 striped bass were caught on 2,203 trips.
  • Of the 7,349 striped bass caught in 2020, 1% (46) were kept and 99% (7,303) were released.

Length data – striped bass

  • 6,397 (87%) striped bass had their length either estimated or measured.
  • 1.44% (92) of the stripers with estimated or measured lengths were greater than or equal to 28” and less than 35” (legal size). Of these, 43% (40) were kept, 58% (52) were released.
  • The average size for measured striped bass was 20”.  The largest was 42” and the smallest was 8”.
  • 98.56% (6,305) of the striped bass with estimated or measured lengths were not legal size.

Table 1. Percent of 2020 Maine striped bass less than 28 inches, greater than 28 inches and less than 35 inches, or greater than or equal to 35 inches.

Size

Estimated

Measured

Total

Percent

Less than 28”

1,552

4,703

6,255

97.78%

Greater than 28" and less than 35"

14

78

92

1.44%

Greater than or equal to 35"

4

47

50

.078%

Figure 1.  2020 Maine striped bass size distribution with measured and estimated lengths.

Length Frequency with Estimates

Figure 2.  2020 Maine's striped bass size distribution with legal and illegal sizes.

Length Frequency