Electro-fishing is a fish sampling tool used to gather fish population data which allows pond managers to make accurate decisions and improve management techniques. Using an electro-shocking boat, the electric field produced affects a relatively small area of the water in front of the vessel where fish are momentarily stunned and safely collected with dip nets. The fish are placed in a live well on the boat where length and weight data is recorded, observations are made, and then the fish are released, without harm, back into their environment. The data provides insight to current and future issues, giving pond managers the needed facts to make a pond productive and keep it productive. In addition to collecting data, undesired species of fish or over populated size classes of predators can be removed from the water body.
For owners looking to restore a fishery to a balanced state, an initial survey will provide the needed information to make improvements. The frequency in which a water body has an electro-fishing study completed is directly related to the goals of the water body and the available budget. Those who want a balanced, healthy fishery should consider a 3-5 year rotation between studies where as those who want a trophy fishery or want to make big improvements in a relatively short period of time will require electro-fishing once or twice per year.
When developing a fishery, it is important to stay ahead of potential issues. As more is learned about the fish community, management decisions can be tailored to meet the pond’s needs. Electro-fishing is a very important tool used in the process of managing a fishery.