Rappahannock River Fish Survey


Hey fish heads I’m Jason Hallacher and I’m John Odenkirk. Today we’re on the Rappahannock River and we’re conducting an electro fishing survey but this is no ordinary survey is it John? No this is
not your ordinary electro fishing survey typically in a normal electro fishing
survey we got one boat and we’re out here in the fall and we run up the river
and we do a quick survey and pick up what we can get that gives us a relative
abundance metric on these fish. Now we’ve got every boat in the state that’s
available to us. Theoretically we’re supposed to have seventeen boats on this
stretch of river because it’s so wide and we’ve got 15 out here today and
we’re going up in the depletion we’re actually going to take all the fish out
on the first run and hold them back second run the third run and that way we
get some real numbers and biomass and population estimates about how many of
each species of fish are in this section of river. This is a pretty novel concept
back about 10 or 15 years ago it was applied a lot of trout streams with
backpack shockers but nobody had ever tried to do this sort of depletion an
electro fishing on a river as big as this is Rappahannock River in
Fredericksburg. My name is Kaylie Johnson and I’m a
Natural Resource Specialist. So once we collect the fish they’re put into tubs
and distributed at each of the stations and at each of those stations we
identify the fish we weigh the fish and measure the fish and then the fish are
taken to the bass buggy. Because our main goal is to have them happy and healthy
so they can be released afterwards. After the fish are worked up they can’t be released back into the river, otherwise we’d catch the same fish
twice and that would totally mess up our population estimate. That’s where the
bass buggy comes into play. The bass buggy works by pumping freshwater from
the river. each tub has its own Inlet and outlet
creating a flow-through system. We also have oxygen for each tank so even though
the fish aren’t real happy with us the bass buggy keeps them healthy while they wait patiently for us to complete the depletion. We’ve spent the whole week on
the Rappahannock River at different sites we started further upstream and
now we’re down close to the title section and what we’ve learned is that
the diversity is amazing in this River it looks fantastic! and what it’s so cool
is that we’ve got fish like striped bass and yellow perch and white perch and
longnose gar that fish that migrate from from way down you know below
Fredericksburg and now they’re using the habitat that’s available to them that
were they were denied access for over 100 years because of Embrey Dam. So
not only we’ve seen how good the sunfish community is like the smallmouth and the
redbreast and but that’s a lot of biomass but we’re seeing huge numbers of channel catfish. Never had channel catfish before Embrey Dam came down. Now that’s a naturalized fish it’s not technically native people think they’re
because they’ve been here since 1800’s. those fish are everywhere in this river
and there’s so much it’s a good recreational fishery and it’s a great
food fish so we encourage people to come out catch some catfish on the Rappahannock River and enjoy there’s a bunch of fish here. Yeah as you can see this is an incredible resource you’re definitely gonna want to come out and
check out this river and grab a rod and reel and fish it this Fall. Fishing should be Fantastic! Absolutely! For more information you can go on our website and go on the Rappahannock River page. And just remember to go outdoors Virginia thanks for watching!

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