Electrofishing underway at Clarks Hill to monitor lake population

They put probes in the water to give the fish a little shock.
Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 3:59 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Have you heard about electrofishing? It doesn’t hurt the fish, but it could help you.

Georgia Department Of Natural Resources, DNR, is doing its annual fish sampling at Clarks Hill. The data they get help the department figure out what the fish population looks like.

Jay Payne is constantly catching fish.

“By the end of the week, it’s like you’re lying in bed and still picturing fish rolling,” he said.

They put probes in the water to give the fish a little shock.

“They kind of go limp for a little bit, just enough to dip them up, and as you saw on the boat, they come out of it in a matter of seconds really,” said Payne.

Payne and his partner do this for 30 minutes each at 20 different sites around Clarks Hill Lake. Then they record their findings.

“It takes a representative sample by size, so we can kind of see the proportions like, well the population is built up of mostly small fish, or mostly big fish, and kind of look at what we call size structure,” he said.

After saying goodbye to the fish, it’s on to the next site.

“It’s fun. This time of year, the weather gets nice, the trees start blooming, and you starting thinking about fishing anyway, so it’s fun to go to work and get out and have that be part of your routine,” said Payne.

Payne let us try it. It’s definitely the easiest way we’ve ever caught fish. He says it’s against the law to build a rig for yourself. DNR gets special permits to do this.

“All angling on public resources has to be done by legal fishing methods, which is not one of them,” said Payne.

When you’re ready to go fishing, using legal methods, you’ll have a better idea of what’s out there.