Monthly Archives: February 2013

Electrofishing Survey at Beaver Brook

For the first time in four years an electrofishing survey was conducted at Beaver Brook. We started at 9 and finished a little after 1.¬† The excitement of finding lots of fish overshadowed the discomfort we felt from below freezing temperatures. Steve DeSimone of Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery operated the backpack electrofisher. Heidi O’Riordan and Kathleen Marean of NYSDEC kept the measurements with help from John Fischer of Long Island Trout Unlimited, I was joined by two of my graduate students, Maryanne Grey and Brian Bartlett.

In this video you can see from right to left Steve, John, Maryanne, and Brian electrofishing

12" Brookie

12″ Brookie

Later I will have a more thorough post of what we found, but here are some preliminary findings. We found somewhere around 20-25 brook trout running from 200 (8″) to 300 (12 “) mm and pretty much¬† along the entire stretch of the brook. This is comparable to the earlier surveys performed in the mid-2000’s. One of the trout we found was good ole #18 or at least we are pretty sure it’s 18. It was hanging out right about where we detected it last month when the battery ran out.

Here's #18 (I think)! Look for the radio antenna

Here’s #18. Look for the radio antenna coming out of the body cavity between the pectoral and pelvic fins.

Unfortunately none of the trout had PIT-tags. Where did those 100 fish go?!?

We also found lots of large-mouth bass (one was 1 or 2 pounds), a bull-head catfish, yellow perch, lots and lots of pumpkin seeds, blue-gills, golden shiners, killifish, a mosquito fish, ten-zillion eels, and one rather cute (if that is the word) lamprey.


Lamprey on ice


Lamprey trying to burrow into Heidi’s hand.






So, all-in-all, a very fun and interesting day.

Brian releasing a few of the trout we caught

UPDATE on (presumed) Trout #18. This trout was tagged on 10/22/2012 and released the next day. At the time of release it was 150 mm length and 29.1 grams body weight. Today it measured 204 mm and 84 grams body weight. Apparently it seems to be eating well. (Short of surgically removing the tag and reading its ID number it is not possible to be 100% certain this is 18. But given its location and the lack of other alternative tagged fish its pretty certain).

Tide Gauges and Run-ins with the Law

My graduate student, Maryanne, and I visited the Beaver Lake Dam antenna today. Fortunately most of the snowfall had melted away so we were able to access the box with the data logger without too much shoveling.

We also installed a simple tide gauge. We would like to know when high tide reaches the dam and also try to calibrate tidal heights with a nearby tidal gauge (King’s Point). Whenever a tagged alewife is detected Maryanne will know based on the time what the tide height is relative to the top of the dam.

We had a little drama though. First one of Brookville’s finest decided that we can’t park where we have been parking for almost year now. He was nice about it but we will have to make other arrangements I guess. Second while we were picking up the car to leave some guy stopped his truck next to the discharged batteries and looked like he was about to pick them up! Fortunately, Maryann scared him away.

The tag finally dies but Trout 18 lives on

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As you can see we had a dusting of snow last night. The tag finally ran out of juice. But we did see a trout that looked a lot like #18 at the same place as our last visit, at a bend in the brook with deep water and lots of overhanging vegetation. He was more or less in midstream (it’s about 2.5 meters wide there). I also saw two smaller trout dart away and I could just make out the turtle moving slowly along the bottom.

So that will do it until April for radiotracking when we will implant some more tags and start another season. All the data is uploaded on maps for your viewing pleasure. I finally figured out how to add photos of the trout locations to the map so you should see those starting to pop up in the near future.

Adopt-A-Trout Goes to Commack High School

A classroom demonstration of radiotracking.

A classroom demonstration of radiotracking.

Yesterday I went to Commack High School to talk to Richard Kurtz’s research class about the Adopt-A-Trout program. Three students, Alinur Rahim, Eric Rizzo, and John Voiklis will be doing independent research projects using the data posted on the webpage. I gave them a demonstration of the use of PIT-tags and radiotags and talked to them about how they can use the data on the website. It’s not all computers either. Later this spring they will join me in the field to radiotrack some trout and help with a stream visual assessment survey.

I show Alinur, Eric and their research supervisor, Richard Kurtz, the website.

I show Alinur, Eric and their research supervisor, Richard Kurtz, the website.

These visits also give important feedback about how classrooms interact with the program. One thing I learned is that this school blocks Youtube video. Soon I will be updating the posted video so it runs through my website instead.