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Fish Inventory Techniques


The Fish Inventory Techniques (FIT) course is an applied three-day, field-based training program suited for technicians and field biologists conducting fish inventory, salvaging, and population estimation programs. This course trains participants to conduct fish inventories and fish salvaging using a wide variety of fish capture techniques and methods. Course participants will also learn to conduct standard adult and juvenile fish biological sampling and fish population estimates using minnow trapping, pole seining, fyke, floating and hoop nets and backpack electrofishing. 

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

The Fish Inventory Techniques course is one in a series of NRTG fish ‘inventory-related’ training programs, including: backpack Electrofishing Certification, Boat Electrofishing, Snorkel Survey Methods and longer Certificate programs: Fisheries Field Skills Program, and Environmental Skills Program. 

How do I attend?

This course is available via contract only to organizations/community groups.  To arrange a contract delivery, please contact us.

Who attends?

Course participants may include technicians, Indigenous stewards, field biologists and other field personnel involved in fish salvaging, fish inventory and fish population estimation projects.

What should I bring or supply?

For the field sessions, bring refreshments (lunch is not provided), as well as suitable field clothing, field transportation, leak-free chestwaders, wading belt, hat with brim, non-slip footwear and polarized glasses.   

More Information

Upon successful completion, participants will be able to:    

  • Plan and conduct a detailed fish inventory program 
  • Identify and contrast a wide variety of fish inventory tools and procedures 
  • Conduct standard minnow trapping procedures 
  • Conduct standard pole seining procedures 
  • Conduct standard backpack electrofishing procedures 
  • Conduct multi-pass backpack electrofishing 
  • Install and operate a fyke net 
  • Install and operate a hoop net 
  • Collect field data and calculate basic fish population estimates 
  • Conduct fish husbandry and biological sampling 
  • Complete fish collection data requirements 

Current and valid backpack Electrofishing Certification is recommended, but not mandatory. 

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.

This course includes a ½ day online presentation and a two-day instructor-led field practicum. The online session may be scheduled in advance of the two-day field practicum, allowing participants time to travel to the field site location. 

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 do not 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 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.