12 March 2024
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Backpack electrofishing is one of the most commonly used fish capture techniques in freshwater, yet to be effective it must be done with strategy and care. The standard certification programs, while necessary and essential, focus on the safety aspects and how to conduct this form of fish sampling in a safe manner. Left out, however, are strategies and tactics to actually capture the wild fish in a stream. To assist practitioners in capturing more fish when doing this work, NRTG’s Advanced Electrofishing MicroCourse provides students with lessons learned over decades on how to effectively capture fish using this tool.
The emphasis of this course is on:
- Approaching the water and fish: Fish are finely tuned to their environment, able to detect subtle vibrations in the water and many species with some degree of electro-receptivity. Being able to stealthily approach them within their own environment is essential to reasonable catches. Some ways of doing this will be presented.
- Reading the water: Fish are not distributed uniformly through a stream section, they segregate by species and age-class among the micro-habitats. Understanding this and being able to read the water for fish habitat and stealthy access to those habitats allows an operator to focus efforts on more likely habitat and increase their catch.
- Electrofisher settings: The certification courses introduce the settings to limit harming the fish. But understanding and fine tuning of the settings will increase your catch. To use a metaphor, the basic certification is giving you the keys to a sports car but limiting you to using it for city driving; this course will present ways to refine the settings to allow you to take the car out on the highways.
With an understanding of the principles presented in this course, and future practice in streams, your crew will collect data that is more representative of fish presence and abundance, community structure, and size classes present within a waterway.
Course will be 4 hours long.