May 19, 2016: The last full day of class was filled with capturing fish twice! In the morning, the class headed out to Jackson’s Mill Reservoir to use seine nets to capture bluegills and other aquatic organisms. Later in the evening, we netted the same spot to see if the same bluegills returned. This is called the Petersen Method.
Josh Winger carries the seine over to a corner in the lake that is filled with excellent bluegill habitat. PC: Jillian Clemente
In another corner of the reservoir, the seine is pulled again. The bluegill collected will be marked. PC: Jillian Clemente
Students sift through mud and sticks to pull out the fish for marking. Hopefully, they will be recaptured in the morning. PC: Jillian Clemente
Justin Earle pulls the seine along the water and drags it to the shoreline. PC: Jillian Clemente
The seine is getting pulled into the cove, and students are ready to dig through the stinky muck to find data. PC: Jillian Clemente
Students dig through muck and sticks to search for fishes and other organisms. Even tadpoles were found. PC: Jillian Clemente
Peter Jenkins, a WVU junior, looks for useable data. PC: Jillian Clemente
Holly Maze, a WVU junior, is having fun while searching for data in the muck, despite its unpleasant smell. PC: Jillian Clemente
Teaching Assistant Ed Olesh found a bug in the seine net. PC: Jillian Clemente
Monisha Mahalaha, a WVU senior, found snail eggs in the seine net. PC: Jillian Clemente
There were some mucky parts where people may have gotten stuck…
Ryan Livesay, a junior at WVU wearing the flannel, tried to trek across the stream, but he needed some help from Anthony Delligatti, a senior, to get across the mucky reservoir. PC: Jillian Clemente
Livesay pushes Delligatti on to finish bringing the seine to the other side of the cove. PC: Jillian Clemente
Delligatti takes the seine from Livesay, and Livesay makes his way back to shore. PC: Jillian Clemente
The seine made it to the other side and the data were collected. Livesay makes his way back safely to shore. PC: Jillian Clemente
Plus, we got to flip a few rocks searching for macroinvertebrates. That’s always fun.
Teaching Assistant Ed Olesh, left, Jake Giles, a senior, middle, and Patrick Smith, junior, search for and identify macroinvertebrates. PC: Jillian Clemente
Ed Olesh found macroinvertebrates. These can help tell the health of a stream. Between his finger and thumb is a diptera, a true fly. On his middle finger is a tricoptera, a caddis fly. PC: Jillian Clemente
After the initial catch in the morning, the vans headed to Walmart to pick up the essentials: gummies and a WV fishing license. Despite being a student for two years, I’ve never had an opportunity to go. Finally, this was my chance, and God sent a few fish to my hook.
I caught my first fish in the state of West Virginia: a bluegill. PC: Sarah Weaver, a sophomore wildlife & fisheries resource management student.
Data recorded from each catch was species, total length in mm, location of capture, and where the hook was in the fish. PC: Jillian Clemente
This bluegill and seven more were caught right off the shoreline. The rocks provided perfect habitat for these fish. PC: Jillian Clemente
Technically, the class got to fish to study hook techniques. Here, I got to use a circle hook for the first time (and clearly did well – 9 bluegills for a first timer in the wild and wonderful state).
Circle hooks are unique because they mostly just hook the lip of the fish and prevent swallowing. This increases the lifespan of the fish and decreases mortality rates.
Justin Earle is waiting for the rest of the class to get their gear before the class moved down to the lake to start fishing. PC: Jillian Clemente
It was pleasantly strange to not have a cold, rainy day this week. Views like this were appreciated even more. PC: Jillian Clemente
Connor Cunningham prepares his rod before heading down to fish. PC: Jillian Clemente
We really got our feet wet during this lesson, too.
The more daring (or crazy) students dove into today’s lesson quite well. PC: Caleb Fazenbacker, WVU senior
In between lessons and the pylons students sit, relax, and enjoy the water. PC: Jillian Clemente
Monisha Mahalaha, a senior wildlife and fisheries resource management student at WVU, borrowed my phone to take a selfie while I got pulled in and splashed. PC: Monisha Mahalaha
Anthony Delligatti, senior, makes a splash at today’s lesson on the lake. PC: Jillian Clemente
After drying off and dinner, I was feeling under the finally-beautiful weather, so I unfortunately did not get a chance to recapture the wonderful morning. However, I did get to clip the fins in the morning. Since the fins grow back, this is the least invasive way to mark a fish. No technology or cost goes into marking fish like this.
I learned how to clip fins for the “mark” part of the “mark and recapture” process. Kyle “Jersey” Geltzeiler, a senior at WVU, holds the fish for me. PC: Cory Hartman
The pectoral fin is clipped on the same side each time so we know it’s the same fish. The fin grows back on the bluegill. PC: Cory Hartman
At night, we got to set a larval trap. It’s a glow stick inside of four glass windows that collect larvae in a thin mesh bag.
Teaching Assistant Ed Olesh begins to throw the larvae trap into the pond at Jackson’s Mill. PC: Jillian Clemente
Dr. Kyle Hartman, right, points out where the larvae can swim into the trap. Ed Olesh, left, holds the larvae trap. PC: Jillian Clemente
The larvae trap sits aglow in the pond at WVU Jackson’s Mill. PC: Jillian Clemente
Because of all the recent rain, the lake was fairly turbid. Unfortunately, no larvae.
Tomorrow is the practical and final. Wish me luck! Between all the photos and the fun, I hope some knowledge got into my head.