I’ve always wanted to see how the “electrofishing” aspect of fish surveying is done, and got the chance to do so the other night at Prairie View Lake near Bennington with Commission biologist Larry Pape and conservation technician Lindsey Richters – with “see” being the operative word for multiple reasons.
When they electrofish, they do so after sunset even though they were nice enough to show me a few fish before nightfall. And while I did see fish float to the top, netted, measured and recorded, and released again, I didn’t leave knowing everything I wanted to. But that’s a good thing.
I still don’t know the scientific theory behind why they electrofish for largemouth bass, why some other fish species are less prone to this method, why both small and big fish both can swim away from the same amount of “shock” (if this is even true), how often they do this at lakes, how important it is to fish management, as well as a long list of other questions regarding how and why the Commission does what they do.
See, a lot of folks think the Commission does one thing – sell permits. However, without the integral backbone needed to make management decisions, research, then the state doesn’t have excellent deer and turkey numbers, great walleye and largemouth bass fishing, or a long list of outdoor activities that rival some of the best in the country.
It may seem as if I’m biased because of who I work for, but that same respect I had before I worked here has been maintained since I’ve been here. The folks like Pape and Richters doing various types of research are what set Nebraska apart from most states where I’ve hunted and fished. And I haven’t even talked about the Jeff Schuckmans and Phil Chvalas of the world, the people I was trap netting with last week. There’s a long list of em’, and they are very good at what they do.
So good that I didn’t want to get in their way when I was photographing for my January/February 2011 NEBRASKAland article on the how’s and why’s surrounding fish surveying. Which has left me with a lot of questions, questions that the fisheries division would have been gracious enough to answer while I was out with them netting and shocking, but will also be more than happy to help me with when the time comes for me to be far away from a camera but close to a tape recorder.
Until then, here are a few photos to get you by until January.