Day 4: Fisheries Camp

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.

There were some mucky parts where people may have gotten stuck…

Plus, we got to flip a few rocks searching for macroinvertebrates. That’s always fun.

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.

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.

We really got our feet wet during this lesson, too.

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.

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.

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.