Electrofishing-What it means and what it can do for your pond.

Electrofishing-What it means and what it can do for your pond.

Fall Means Electrofishing Season

With cooler weather right around the corner, our fall electrofishing season is quickly approaching. 

Electrofishing is the main component of our lake audit package. 

While electrofishing your pond, our biologists also conduct a baseline water quality quality assessment.  Clients can also select other services, including  a dam/outlet inspection, nutrient level testing, algae/plankton identification and lake mapping. A detailed report summarizing all of the data with recommendations for future management is sent to the client upon survey completion.

What IS  Electrofishing?

 Electrofishing serves 3 main areas.

  1. Fish population assessment including the health, size and weight
  2. Selective harvest/predator control
  3. Stocking Recommendations
  1. Fish Population Assessment/Survey

Electrofishing is the most effective method of sampling fish populations in ponds and provides valuable insight into what fish your pond holds and how healthy those fish are.

The survey is performed by our state-of-the-art electrofishing boat which  allows us to safely sample a fish population. Once the survey is complete, all fish are measured and largemouth bass are weighed to assess their health condition.

Depending on the package selected and goals of the client, largemouth bass can be tagged, aged, and/or swabbed for DNA to look into their genetic make-up. After all of the data is collected, fish are safely released back into the pond.

  1. Selective Harvest/Undesirable Species Control

We highly recommend harvesting (removing) all underperforming predators as well undesirable species during our surveys. Harvesting fish via hook and line is a valuable tool but it can be biased to more aggressive fish whereas electrofishing is unbiased.  Removal helps prevent overcrowding, competition for resources, and stunted growth among fish.

  1. Stocking Recommendations

Understanding the current fish population and the health of the fish are some of the keys to developing a fish stocking  plan, to help you achieve your pond’s goals.

Importance of Electrofishing

The importance of an electrofishing survey is for both the client and our biologists to get a “snapshot” of what their pond’s fish populations look like. This allows us to provide a client with recommendations for fish stocking, harvest, and other fish management needs. Without having an electrofishing survey performed on your lake, it is very difficult to determine the most effective and streamlined path to achieving a client’s pond goals.

Fall vs Spring Electrofishing

As you are reading this, you may be asking yourself: “Why wouldn’t I wait to have an electrofishing survey done in the spring? Is there a difference?” The difference between fall electrofishing surveys and spring electrofishing surveys is associated with the biological differences that take place between the two seasons. The main difference between the spring and fall in ponds is that fish spawn in the spring. Surveys conducted during the spring don’t present the opportunity to observe that year’s spawn success with those young-of-year fish being too small or unhatched. That is why the main benefit of a fall survey is that our electrofishing boat will be able to sample fish reproduction from the previous spring. This allows our biologists to assess how successfully each species spawned and if harvest recommendations need to be altered based on these findings. Also during the spawn, largemouth bass weights are slightly influenced by the presence or lack of eggs, which can skew our data. In the fall, this variable is removed, allowing our biologists to observe more consistent weights and conditions of the bass population.


 If you’re looking to better understand your pond, curious about what’s lurking in it, or just need guidance on how to manage the ecosystem, contact Aquatic Environmental Services today about our lake audit packages for the fall!


-Kelson Shepherd, Fisheries Technician


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