It makes fishing with a rod and reel pale by comparison.
An electrofishing rig was used Thursday morning at Tumbling Rock Reservoir to examine a sample of the fish population in the body of water. The sampling is part of ongoing programs by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
District 7 Fisheries Biologist Kin Hodges was assisted by Game Warden Steve Bullins. Hodges explained that the electrofishing uses a special generator that converts AC current to DC, or Direct Current. An electric field is set up around the boat’s hull to stun the fish that come into contact with it. DC pulses of electricity have been found to be more gentle on the fish that are temporarily stunned so they can be measured, weighed and returned to the water.
Specially mounted fiberglass poles hold rigging that allows the electrical field to exist around the boat. Fisheries personnel also have pedals which must be pressed down simultaneously. If one pedal is released the current stops instantly. Operators also wear insulating gloves used by linemen as further protection. The boat used Thursday is a small Jon boat. The Department also has an 18-foot boat for use on larger lakes.
Hodges’ preliminary results at Tumbling Rock indicated the balance between brim gamefish is on target with sampled bass looking like three pounders.
“It looks like the population ratios here are off to a good start,” said Hodges. “The ratios of brim to bass look good so far and I think many of these fish being three pounds in three growing seasons is good growth.”
He said the Commission also uses a similar strategy across the state for trout fishing opportunities. Some areas are managed for delayed harvesting by fishermen and other areas trout are only for catch and release. One local example of this would be Riverside Park.
Hodges said the DC bursts of electricity can be varied from 120 bursts per second to seven-and-a-half bursts per second because different patterns are more effective on different species and sizes of fish.
Hodges also said that the Commission continues to stock at least 900 catfish monthly as an ongoing program to supplement fish in the reservoir. These cats will range from 10-11 inches and are primarily aimed at the angler that wants to harvest the fish for eating.
Tumbling was stocked with fingerling Bluegill and red eared sunfish in 2007 and this was the first sampling to see if these foundation fish are in proper balance to ensure optimum size for the bass that were also stocked in the reservoir in 2008. The goal of the stocking is to establish a self-sustaining sport fish population to supplement the catfishing.
“There are lots of opportunities in our area,” concluded Hodges.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.