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Abstract

The Buffalo River in northern Arkansas was surveyed for recreator and angler use in 1991 and 1992. The river was divided into three reaches and numbers of boats, recreators, anglers, and catches were compiled by creel clerks at nine selected take-out points. Outfitter rental receipts were used to estimate rental boats, and the proportion of rental to private boats creeled was used to correct for private boats not counted on the rental receipts. A total of 1,656 boats containing 3,071 recreators was contracted by the creel clerks during 1991 and 1992; 9.2% of the recreators were anglers. Expansion of the creel data indicates an estimated 192,348 people floated the river during 1991 and 1992, resulting in annual averages of 116 and 73 boats/ha, 214 and 135 recreators/ha, and 20 and 12 hours of angling/ha on the river during those two years. Smallmouth bass was the principal game fish and accounted for a harvest of 4.6 and 1.3 fish/ha and a catch rate of 0.08 and 0.03 fish/hrs. However, catch and release, estimated at 1.0 fish/hr, may have biased harvest and catch rates. Smallmouth bass harvest was low when compared to other waters and is not likely impacting the population.

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