Day 2: Fisheries Camp

May 17, 2016: All the fishes got a shock to their hearts with a West Virginia-bred form of electroshocking: parallel wire electrofishing.

With some equipment and knowledge from the WV DNR and stream access from the West Virginia State Police Department, the class got to uncover the fishes of Stonecoal Creek . Parallel wire electrofishing is when an anode and a cathode run in two separate wires next to each other. The electricity runs within the area of those two wires.

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The WV DNR runs the parallel wire electrofishing demonstration at Stonecoal Creek, and students scoop up the shocked fish. PC: Jillian Clemente

Chest waders were a must, so my hip waders were useless (I know, Dad, I should’ve brought the other pair). Luckily, the DNR lent me a pair and the ones pictured didn’t leak. The second location’s weren’t as waterproof, but the leakage didn’t dampen my spirits.

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Dry and happy because this pair didn’t leak. I was still content when donning the non-leaky pair, I promise. PC: Monisha Mahalaha

After shocking the first section of the stream, we learned how to ID all of the fish. Turns out not all small fishes are minnows, and even that is just a family.

The second run was a five-minute drive away from the first site but just as beautiful. Sure, there was a chill in the air and the water wasn’t too warm, but it wasn’t coming in over our waders this time.

The best part? We didn’t have to ID the second set of fish. Plus, we got to do three seine net runs and caught a few fish and crayfish. Seine nets are horizontally stretched across a stream and a line of people kick up the bottom of the stream to uncover and chase down organisms. The bottom is weighted and the top floats.

The ladies of fisheries camp (yes, there are others!) got an awesome squad pic as well. We’re fancy, tough, and our favorite fish is the greenside darter.

Mandy Ondrick, junior; Jillian Clemente, junior; Monisha Mahalaha, junior; Sarah Weaver, sophomore; and Holly Maze, junior, all wildlife and fisheries resource management majors at WVU finish electroshocking on the Stonecoal Creek and pose to represent all the ladies at Fisheries Camp 2016. PC: Ryan Livesay, WVU junior