When scientists want to sample a fish population, they don’t rely on a rod and bait. Under certain circumstances they will use nets, and often in streams and rivers they will use electrofishing. HRWC got the chance to do a little electrofishing this past week.
To electrofish in a shallow river, a gasoline generator is put into a light boat. The generator is hooked to two long poles, called booms, that are placed into the water and create an electric field between themselves and the bottom of the boat. The electric field does not kill fish but temporarily stuns those that get within a few feet of the booms. While stunned, workers with nets scoop up the fish and put them in tubs filled with water. The fish are then identified and sorted, and eventually released back to the river safe and sound.
Last Wednesday, several HRWC staff went out with our partners from Environmental Consulting Technology (ECT) to sample the Huron River along Riverside Park in Ypsilanti. We saw plenty of fish in this stretch, including several big smallmouth bass and one big walleye. While we still need to officially work up the results, our initial observations were that the fish are indeed using the cover and deep water habitat that HRWC installed two years ago, and the fish were bigger and more numerous than when we electrofished the same reach before the habitat was installed.
We will report back when the final results are in. Until then, enjoy some fish pictures!