Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Daniel Sturgis

Second Advisor

Dale Miller

Third Advisor

Stacey Schulte

Fourth Advisor

Andrew Martin


This research project is an analysis of catch-and-release fishing near Boulder, Colorado. Catch-and-release is a conservation practice, common among anglers, which requires anglers to return fish to the water after capture with no harm done or as little harm as possible. This study focuses on voluntary catch-and-release during fly fishing. The first research question is: What are the conservation effects of catch-and-release angling on healthy trout populations? The methods employed to answer this question involved reviewing past literature and studies on catch-and-release for various trout populations. This review showed that there are remarkable inconsistencies in research methods and results. Further investigation is needed to observe how to best practice catch-and-release for specific species. The second research questions asked, how does the angling population of Boulder, CO view and practice catch-and-release fishing, and can they identify the native trout populations in Colorado? To answer this question, a survey was conducted for the anglers in Boulder. 149 usable responses were received. The results indicated that although several respondents knew the correct practices and techniques, there is further need and desire for an increase in the dissemination of scientific findings to the public regarding the best catch-and-release practices.