Ryan Gary, Fisheries Intern
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Posted on July 15, 2011 | Permalink
Student Technican Experience - Week 3
Tuesday of this week was my first day out in the field and Cameron and I went out to the Patapsco to do a stream survey where there once was a dam. The year earlier the same crew we were with had sampled these two locations (above and below the dam) and we were coming back to survey because the dam had been removed. The primary purpose was to see how the dam effected the fish population and overall health of the river. To survey the stream we had a crew of 19 in which most people had a backpack electro shocker and a net, the others would carry a bucket to keep the fish in. As we moved upstream the shockers would temporarily stun fish so that we would be able to net them and count them at the end of the pass. At the site of the survey there were two nets set up at the top and bottom of the site so that no fish could escape and we received an accurate picture of what life was in that section of river. At both sites we found common freshwater species like Smallmouth Bass, Northern Hogsucker, Red Breast Sunfish, Green Sunfish, Common Shiner, Margined Madtom, and American Eel. Overall it was a productive and fun day out in the field.
The next day Cameron and I did the same thing except that we went to a different portion of the Patapsco. One site a little further downstream from Daniels Dam, and another just before a bridge upstream of Ellicott City. The methods were the same but the fish were not, at the first site we shocked up two 12+ inch Yellow Bullheads and countless other smaller ones. The Smallmouth although smaller in size than the site a day before were much more plentiful, the same goes for the red breast, we must have shocked up over 50 in small portion of stream. Once we were done at the first site we ate lunch and then moved on to the next site, not without trouble though. The van in front of me had a small area to turn around in (especially with a large trailer hitched on) and began spinning its tires rapidly in the mud. Once we got them back on the road we had our last site to finish up. We shocked up the usual fish for this stream with red breast lower in abundance and no large bullhead like the previous site but nonetheless it was very enjoyable. On our last pass the heavens opened up and water was pouring from the sky making it difficult to spot fish but we toughed it out and finished the site.
Working with MBSS was really fun this past week and all the members of the group were helpful and taught me many things about identifying new species of fish to me. I hope before the summer is over you all will see another report of me working with them.