Field Tool Kit


Things happen in the field, particularly when we are using complicated sampling gears (= electrofishing equipment).  Malfunctions can occur in the electrodes, branch circuits (conductors running from the control box or power source to the electrodes), the power source, or the control box.  Biologists build a lot of their own equipment, wiring boats, electric seines, and the like.  From what I’ve seen, most problems appear in our wiring or construction, but generator problems, and sometimes control box issues do occur.  Fisheries biologists are a resourceful lot.  If given direction, they usually can diagnose the problem at hand and get back to sampling.  With this in mind, Midwest Lake Electrofishing Systems, based in Polo, Missouri, has developed a list of items for a basic field tool kit (see below).  Although the intent is a tool kit for electrofishing boats, this kit applies to any electrofishing gear type.

Many thanks to the crew at MLES.


Grass Carp Effective Conductivity – Part B

In Part A of this blog, it was calculated from a lab study that the effective conductivity of Grass Carp was 62 uS/cm. In Part B, let me show you a simple way of using that information in the field to improve the capture success of Grass Carp based on those results. You may want to download the Electrofishing Tool or App from the Tool section of this site.

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Challenges of Conductive Substrates

Sometimes, things just don’t work as expected. You go to a new sampling site, determine ambient water conductivity, estimate a good starting point for standardizing by power and conduct a quick pretrial to fine tune the voltage, current or power levels for successful fishing.  But, either the starting point is incorrect, or the sampling begins successfully and then something changes to reduce effectiveness.  Below are three examples of unusual circumstances in electrofishing.  Two of these were my direct experiences; the other was reported to me.Continue Reading..

Generators with Isolated Neutrals

Most boat electrofishing pulsators (control boxes) are powered with portable generators that provide 240-V, single-phase AC. These generators are available from common commercial sources such as hardware stores or electrical supply houses. (Note: a notable exception is the GPP pulsator made by Smith-Root, Inc., that requires a specially-constructed generator; it will not be discussed further here.) This short blog explains the electrical outlet of a generator, how to test for the safety of a generator if used for boat electrofishing, and what to do if the test indicates that a generator is not safe for electrofishing.

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Testing Equipment: Importance and Recommendations

Testing equipment, particularly current clamps and scopemeters, have a substantial role to play in electrofishing sampling programs.  I was first introduced to this notion years ago by A. Lawrence (“Larry”) Kolz and Jim Reynolds, two people that made substantial advances in the conceptual basis for electrofishing.  Since then, Jan Dean and I have used test equipment in a number of situations, built Excel-based programs to utilize collected information, and have worked on identifying inexpensive yet accurate meter alternatives.

In this blog, I will attempt to describe purposes of testing equipment, some approaches and considerations regarding their use, share a few of our test results, and provide a list of suggested models.

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