Electrofishing Certification


Backpack electrofishing is a popular fish sampling methods used to capture and sample fish. The NRTG Electrofishing Certification course is a 1.5 day online and field-based training program where students learn how to operate a backpack electrofishing unit safely and effectively.

Each NRTG course includes free, lifetime admission. Enrol once – come back anytime.

NRTG is the leading provider of electrofishing training in Canada. Since 1994, NRTG staff have successfully trained more than 10,000 Canadian industry practitioners in the practice of safe and effective electrofishing. NRTG personnel are highly respected and recognized leaders in the delivery of backpack and boat electrofishing certification training.

Who attends?

Course participants typically include current fisheries field technicians and biologists, other environmental professionals requiring ‘fish and fish habitat’ training, resource workers, individuals new to the industry and graduates of other natural resource-related programs.

How do I attend?

This course is available for individual registration via our website schedule page, or on contract to organizations/community groups. Are interested in a contract delivery of this course? If so, please contact us.

What should I bring or supply?

Leak-free chestwaders with non-slip footwear (felt, cleat or rubber soled wading shoes or wader boots), field binder with waterproof paper, appropriate field clothing, bag lunch and refreshment each day.

Please ensure your wading equipment is free of invasives and Whirling disease. More information is found here.

More Information

First Aid requirements will vary by province or country. Typically, an approved Level One first aid course (containing a CPR component) is required. Please consult with the applicable WorkSafe or safety regulatory agency:

Note: First aid training may be completed prior to or after this training program and must be successfully completed prior to participating in actual electrofishing field work.

NRTG’s ‘Electrofishing Certification’ course includes free, lifetime recertification with our “Electrofishing Recertification” course.   To be eligible, prospective registrants for NRTG’s ‘Electrofishing Recertification’ course: 

  1. Have previously attended an NRTG ‘Electrofishing Certification’ course.
  2. May only attend an NRTG ‘Electrofishing Recertification‘ course that has met its minimum (paid) registration total (typically 10 registrants, may vary by location).
  3. Please note: NRTG will limit the number of free re-certification ‘seats’ to three for any one course delivery.

Frequently Asked Questions

We offer this course beginning in February in coastal regions and March in interior regions throughout North America. Please refer to our Schedule page for course timing and locations.

First aid training may be obtained before or after this training program and should be in place prior to conducting electrofishing activities as a paid employee or worker.

Ensure first aid training is recognized and endorsed by WorkSafe agencies in North America. This one-day training program may be referred to by different titles, such as “Occupational First Aid” or “Standard First Aid”. Consult with your provincial or state WorkSafe authorities for more information.

You can purchase chestwaders from Canadian Tire, any flyfishing shop across Canada, Cabela’s, or industry suppliers such as Dynamic Aqua Supply (Surrey, BC), IRL Supplies (Prince George, BC), Winners Edge (Lillooet, BC), Surplus Herby’s (Williams Lake, Kamloops, Vernon BC), Forestry equipment suppliers across Canada and other outdoor equipment outfitters.

First, always ensure your chestwaders don’t leak! You can do this easily by holding a flashlight (or your phone) in your waders in a dark room. Beams of light coming out in small pinholes might indicate a small hole. Patch using Aqua seal or Shoe Goo.  

Neoprene chestwaders are appropriate for spring, fall and winter conditions but may be too warm for summer field work. Nylon chestwaders and Gore-Tex ® or breathable chestwaders are excellent choices for most seasons, where crew members wear warm layers (e.g., fleece, polypropylene) underneath during colder field conditions.

Felt soles can offer stable footing in most types of stream substrates but may be poor choices when working in areas of extensive clay stream bottoms or snowy banks. Felt soles will provide very poor traction on clay and snow will stick to and accumulate on felt-soled wading shoes. Wading shoes with cleats (aluminum or tungsten) will provide stable footing in a variety of substrates (gravels, cobbles, clay, large boulders) and are less likely to transfer invasive species from waterbody to waterbody.

No, there is no requirement to recertify your electrofishing certificate. If there is a significant pause in your electrofishing fieldwork (e.g., four years or more), we would recommend that you recertify with NRTG. Note: all NRTG courses include free, lifetime certification. Enrol once – come back anytime.

No. Boat electrofishing is entirely unique from backpack electrofishing and requires different skills, abilities and knowledge. NRTG offers both backpack and boat electrofishing certification. Please refer to our Courses page for more information.

Simply contact NRTG via phone or email and request your upgrade. Please provide us with the previous NRTG course date and location. We will issue you a free upgraded Certificate!

Yes, as this is a WorkSafeBC requirement. To certify in BC, attend our Electrofishing Recertification course where you can attend both the online theory session and/or field session.

This course requires that you finish the Electrofishing Certification Self-Paced Training at least 5 days before your Electrofishing Field Studies session. If you cannot complete the Self-Paced Training in that time, please contact NRTG.

Alternatively, you can wait for NRTG to automatically deregister you from the course and you can use the tuition fee held by NRTG to schedule another course, or defer your Field session registration to a future date when the Self-Paced Training will be successfully completed.


“Darren’s level of experience is obvious and his professionalism as an instructor is top-notch. Amazing course.”

— Michael Richard, Biologist, Burnaby, B.C.

“Eric was a great instructor; very knowledgeable, helpful, respectful, and passionate about course content. Field component was very valuable, and brought together the whole course.”

— Dylan Begin, Biologist, Cranbrook, B.C.

“This course exceeded my expectations. By far the most informative and engaging course I have taken. Amazing instructor and course!”

— Stacy Boczulak, Biologist, Burnaby, B.C.

“Darren was simply put the best instructor one could ask for on this topic. An informative, fun and incredibly relevant course.”

— Nadin Boegelsack, Biologist, Calgary, Alberta

“One of the most fun, educational courses I have completed. Wonderful instructor. Don’t change anything!”

— Dani McIntosh, Parks Canada Biologist, Banff, Alberta

“The most enjoyable certification course I have ever taken!”

— Ian Reynolds, Biologist, Victoria, B.C.

“Good balance of field vs. classroom time. I felt the length of each portion was perfect. The instructor was such an excellent instructor – clear, approachable, helpful, encouraging. Highly recommend!”

— Melanie Kuzyk, Ecologist, North Vancouver, B.C.

“Excellent course with very knowledgeable instructor. Will definitely attend future NRTG courses!”

— Hilary Goble, Biologist, Crossfield, Alberta

“Kyle’s delivery of your Electrofishing course was absolutely top-notch. He is knowledgeable, professional, and most of all, unfailingly cheerful and patient. Our field session was the third in two days, and I got the feeling from Kyle that he would not rather be anywhere else than right there teaching us about zapping fish. He took care to assist with review before the test, ensuring we all had the time we needed to be comfortable with the material. I believe the integrity of your program is superbly represented by this instructor.”

— Scott Klassen, Biologist, Vanderhoof BC

“Darren is awesome…learned so much. Best course I have taken in the industry.”

— Brendan Such, Biologist, Cochrane, Alberta