Water quality adversely affects electrofishing survey catch rates – if your using inadequate electrofishing equipment.
West Texas and Oklahoma water is high conductivity water. East of I-35 in East Texas, water conductivity falls rapidly. It’s due to high TDS (total dissolved salts) in the west region and low TDS in the east region. Electrical conductivity of water is directly related to the concentration of dissolved ionized solids in the water, or TDS.
Why does water conductivity affect electrofishing catch rates? As the electric current passes through the water from the electrofishing boat, a high TDS (high conductivity) situation interferes with the electricity needed to stun and catch fish during an electrofishing survey. If the electrofishing boat’s pulsator box (the device controlling the electric waveforms in the water) is not powerful enough to push sufficient current through the water, catch rates will be substantially lower.
And why should you be concerned with good catch rates in an electrofishing survey? An electrofishing survey is meant to collect a “representative sample” of the fish within the pond or lake. It’s similar to a political or social poll – using a representative sample of people to reflect the population as a whole. If your representative sample is not accurate because the electrofishing equipment is not setup to handle your water quality, you will not get accurate enough data to be able to pian your fishery with.
What if high TDS is not a problem? Instead, you have low TDS i.e. low conductivity water. The electrofishing equipment is still just as important. Yes, the boat’s pulsator doesn’t need to be powerful and high amperage, but the anode set up is just as important in low conductivity ponds and lakes. Low surface area anodes under-perform in low conductivity water. Anodes with large surface area droppers are critical to flowing current through the water and increasing catch rates during the survey.
If you’re unsure what your water conductivity is, send us a sample and we can test it for you. Either way, our PondMedics electrofishing boat is set up to provide the highest catch rates in low OR high conductivity waters. Our electrofishing pulsator that controls the electrical waveforms in the water can shock in water exceeding 5,000 uS/cm3 all the way down to low conductivity water <100 uS/cm3. Our anodes are interchangeable – oversize 1″ stainless steel droppers for low conductivity water and 3/16″ stainless steel droppers for the extremely high conductivity water.
Have your past electrofishing surveys have produced underwhelming results? It might be the boat was not optimized to your water quality. For the highest catch rates and best electrofishing results, give us a call and we’ll optimize our boat to your unique water quality needs.