Friday, 21 November 2008 18:08

Caples Creek Fish Survey 11-19-2008

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Cindy and I joined up with several volunteers from Sac-Sierra Trout Unlimited (SSTU) to assist DFG, Forest Service and El Dorado Irrigation District (EID) employees with the electro-shocking of Caples Creek on Wednesday November 19th.

We left the house nice and early to ensure that we could stop at Cook's Station to get some breakfast. Once again their biscuits and gravy were top notch.

We arrived at the Kirkwood Inn around 8:15 AM and waited for the others to show up. There were 2 EID employees, 5 DFG employees, Jann Williams from TU/Forest Service, along with the 5 SSTU Volunteers. We unloaded the vehicles and sorted out the gear. Then we proceeded to haul the gear up over the hill and down into the valley below. It took about 20 minutes to get the gear down to the beautiful meadow. Part of the hike we were walking through snow and ice.


Brian stated that EID had planned to have us survey one 100 meter stretch above the confluence with Kirkwood Creek and another 100 meter stretch below the confluence. We split into two groups, one taking the upstream section and one the downstream section. Cindy and I were with the downstream group.

We measured out the sections and then set up the nets across the stream to prevent fish from getting out of the area to be sampled. Then it was time to don the equipment and the nets and get started. It had been decided that we would use a three-pass depletion method for our sampling. This means that we would make three separate passes through each of the two sections, keeping the fish in separate containers then counting, measuring, weighing and releasing the fish. Using a specialized formula, that was not fully explained, they can determine how many fish reside in that section of water (assuming that some of the fish are missed).

As I described in my earlier article on Caples Lake, the electro-shocking is performed by passing electrical current through a cathode, in this case it was shaped like a metal detector, down through the water and back to the anode, in this case a wire attached to the backpack that housed the controls and battery. The voltage can be adjusted to varying strengths using the control knobs on the back of the unit. There is more danger involved with this method because of the uneven nature of the streambed. Luckily nobody got completely wet, but there were a few close calls.

We recovered a variety of fish including Rainbow, Brook and Brown Trout, along with Suckers and another that we thought to be a Tui Chub. The first pass brought in just over a hundred fish, the second pass I cannot recall the total from, and the third pass brought in 51.

We finished before the upstream group and then headed up to give them a hand finishing their section. After completing the count and packing up all our gear it was time for the death march back up over the hill carrying all the gear. Cindy and I had to stop numerous times to try to catch our breath, but never seemed to catch up to it... By the time I reached the parking lot area my forearms felt like they were ready to explode! We got out of our waders and then spent some time discussing the days events, swapping other fishign stories and finally catching our collective breath. We said goodbye to everyone and then Cindy and I stopped in at the Kirkwood Inn to get warmed up. That fire sure felt great after a day in the cold. Another great day spent in nature.

Read 1044 times Last modified on Sunday, 05 April 2015 15:45

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