The Toolbox: Electrofishing

Electrofishing backpack

Trout and largemouth bass are two species which are not easily caught in nets. They are also our most sought after fishes. Our biologists use electric currents to draw fish out and briefly stun them. The fish are easily scooped up with dip nets. The fish can then be identified and measured. They are then returned to the water unhurt.

Using electricity to catch fish is called electrofishing. A small generator makes the electricity. Poles wired to the generator carry the current into the water. The electric field in the water attracts the fish. In streams, the generator is carried on a backpack. On lakes, the generator is carried on a boat.
Many people worry about the fish being hurt by the electricity. Our biologists go through intensive training in electrofishing.

Great care is taken to use just enough electricity to hold the fish.

Stream survey

photos-Art Michaels

September/October 1998 Angler & Boater

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