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.
Watch this video for an up close look at electrofishing with AES.
What IS Electrofishing?
Electrofishing serves 3 main areas.
- Fish population assessment including the health, size and weight
- Selective harvest/predator control
- Stocking Recommendations
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.
Our state-of-the-art electrofishing boat performs the survey, enabling us to safely sample the fish population. After completing the survey, we measure all fish, and assess the health condition of largemouth bass by weighing them
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.
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.
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?”
Fall electrofishing surveys differ from spring surveys due to the biological variations occurring 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.
Our biologists can assess the success of each species' spawning and decide whether to adjust harvest recommendations based on these findings.
During the spawn, the presence or absence of eggs slightly influences the weights of largemouth bass, potentially skewing our data. In the fall, removing this variable enables our biologists to observe more consistent weights and conditions within the bass population.
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-Kelson Shepherd, Fisheries Technician