Fisheries Field Skills Program


The Fisheries Field Skills (FFSP) provides participants with skills and knowledge in WorkSafe-approved backpack electrofishing certification, fish identification, fisheries field techniques, fish and fish habitat inventory and assessment, stream invertebrate sampling, streambank restoration and water quality sampling and monitoring.  

Please be advised that at present, this program does not provide transferable credits recognized by accredited bodies and post-secondary institutions.

Program Outcomes

Fisheries Field Skills Program graduates are qualified to perform fish and fish habitat inventory and assessments directly, or as an assistant to professional biologists, hydrologists, experienced technicians, and other fisheries professionals.  

Upon successful completion, participants will be qualified and able to:  

  • Conduct standard fish and fish habitat inventory and assessment procedures 
  • Conduct backpack electrofishing surveys 
  • Perform water quality sampling procedures 
  • Conduct fisheries field hydrology procedures 
  • Conduct advanced fish habitat and fish population assessments 
  • Conduct biological sampling methods and design a biological sampling program 
  • Conduct fish inventory & capture procedures 
  • Design and conduct a stream invertebrate sampling program 
  • Construct and install streambank restoration techniques and structures 
  • Isolate an instream construction project and conduct a fish salvage 


None.  A standard one to two-day First Aid course is required as a co-requisite to the Electrofishing Certification training.  

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

The 80-hour (two-week) FFSP includes online sessions while the majority of the program is field-based, and focuses on training individuals in a series  

Course participants typically include; current fisheries field technicians and biologists, Indigenous partners, and technicians working in other sectors.

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?

Course participants are required to provide their own personal protective equipment: chest waders (with no leaks), wading belt, non-slip footwear, polarized glasses, and a hat with a brim (e.g., ball cap), and a waterproof field notebook. 

Course Format

The 80-hour (two-week) Fisheries Field Skills Program is available in two formats:  

  1. A community-based, in-person instruction program delivered weekdays (Monday – Friday) for two consecutive weeks.  
  2. A blended online and field-based program delivered weekdays (Monday -Friday) for two consecutive weeks. This program version includes ‘student led’ field practicum sessions where students complete field sessions on their own, recording notes, video, images and returning to share and discuss those results with the online class.  

The Fisheries Field Skills Program delivery ‘season’ will vary by region, as the program requires suitable field conditions (unfrozen stream water and suitable water temperatures and flow levels, etc.). 


NRTG will work with clients to customize our existing course content to meet your needs. As an example, this may include additional or advanced training relating to fish habitat restoration, planning, or mitigation, lake management, fish population estimation, streambank restoration, program management, or topics of interest to your community or organization.

Have questions or comments about customization? Please contact us.

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.

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, 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. Chestwaders can also be purchased from any flyfishing shop across Canada.

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.

No, there is no requirement to recertify for this program. If there is a significant pause in your environmental monitoring 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.

NRTG’s Fisheries Field Skills Certificate program is accredited by BC’s College of Applied Biology (CAB). CAB will recognize graduates of the Fisheries Field Skills Certificate program as meeting the core academic requirements for entry as an Applied Biology Technician. An ‘Applied Biology Technician’ designation qualifies an individual as a BC provincially recognized and certified technician and helps to expand their industry credibility. 

NRTG also partners with post-secondary institutes across Canada, who offer their own non-credit Certificate of Completion for this program. Contact NRTG for further details.  

Absolutely! First, identify an upcoming Fisheries Field Skills Certificate program of interest and notify NRTG well in advance of the start date. We will do our best to create a free seat for past NRTG students and coordinate your attendance during the program.


Great course! Excellent balance of class vs. field and we learned valuable skills that will certainly help me with my position.

-Colin LaRochelle, Fisheries Technician, Lillooet, B.C.

This course was professionally conducted and provided training specific to the needs of our organization. Excellent instructors and course content.

-Natasha Lukey, Fisheries Technician, Merritt, B.C.

The FFS course was well planned out. The instructor (Kyle Milburn) did a fantastic job. This was easily one of the best courses I have ever taken in terms of information, experience, networking possibility, layout, and a balance of classroom and field sessions.

Brian Titaro, Vancouver, B.C.

Wonderful ‘hands on’ learning! Kyle was an excellent instructor, and ensured everyone maximized their learning and enjoyment. These are valuable skills that will help advance my career.

-Leigh Anne White, Fisheries Technician, Port Alberni, B.C.

Great information and instructors. I am experienced in the field and learned lots too.

-Patricia Clarke, Fisheries Technician, Merritt, B.C.

The instructors are very thorough and continuously ensuring we are on the same page. Excellent program, highly recommended!

-Sherry Michell, Fisheries Technician, Pavilion, B.C.

Excellent course, awesome instructors!

-Roxanne Pinyon, Environmental Technician, Merritt, B.C.

Great information and instructors. I am experienced in the field and learned lots too.

-Patricia Clarke, Fisheries Technician, Merritt, B.C.