Climate change has anglers asking, “Will fish bite more or less?”
There is a strong connection between climate change, land use practices such as agriculture, the quality and aquatic ecosystems and fishing opportunities available to people. University of Illinois researchers are looking at how these known ecosystem changes will affect game fish behavior.
A study generated a number of new, fundamental findings related to how environmental stressors impact fish behavior, and how these behavior changes can translate to the success of anglers. For example, data have shown that an absence of food will result in increased capture rate for largemouth bass, presumably because fish are more willing to bite at lures. Interestingly, a lack of food does not influence “curiosity” of largemouth bass, so the mechanism is likely that fish simply strike and ingest lures more readily when they are hungry.
These findings not only help inform fisheries managers how to adapt to climate change but also help anglers know what fish behavior to expect at the end of their lines.