Benjamin Rich

Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

School or Department

Wildlife Biology


Wildlife Biology

Faculty Reader(s)

Mike Mitchell, Michael Patterson, Lisa Eby


Westslope Cutthroat, Hook Scarring, Angler Satisfaction, Barbless Hooks, Catch and Release


Anglers in Montana are shifting towards a catch and release ethic. This shift is causing increased hook scarring in fish populations. Despite these increasing trends few studies have quantified the rate of hook scarring anglers observe, and their attitudes about hook scarring. We developed and conducted an angler survey on the West Fork of the Bitterroot, a section of river with over 30% scarring rates in Westslope Cutthroat in a 2014 Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) electrofishing survey. We surveyed floating anglers as they pulled out at the end of the fishing day to get complete catch data, satisfaction information, observed hook scarring rates, attitudes about hook scarring, and equipment used. We surveyed 47 anglers of which 94% were fly-fishing and 72% were using barbless hooks. Anglers observed lower hook scarring rates than the previous MFWP electrofishing survey. On average anglers reported hook scarring rates to be very acceptable. There was no correlation between the rate of hook scarring anglers observed and satisfaction with their catch. As densities of anglers increase, more research is needed to understand the effects of angler gear type on hook scarring rates and the effect of hook scarring on angler satisfaction.

Honors College Research Project


GLI Capstone Project




© Copyright 2016 Benjamin Rich