Students Get Hip-Deep, Hands-On Training
Natural Resources students learn how to assess local trout population
What a way to end the semester: wading around in a rural Waupaca County stream to conduct a trout population assessment.
“I am a very firm believer in getting the experience firsthand,” says student Jack Stecker. “You can read about a lot of this in textbooks. But until you start feeling it… you’ll never really understand how important the work is until you get out in the field.”
Jack was part of the Fisheries Management class that spent the last few days of their semester hip deep in the waters of Radley Creek. In cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, students in the Natural Resources Technician program learned how to conduct a trout population assessment by using electrofishing equipment to send the fish swimming toward the students.
“It does not electrocute them. It doesn’t harm them,” explains Paul Groell, department chair of the Natural Resources program. “With electricity, it forces their muscles to contract and they swim toward our probe. Each student has a probe and a net and they work the probe into the cover, drawing the fish out.”
Students captured and assessed the fish and then released them back into the stream. They enter their data into a formula that results in a population estimate for each stretch of the steam. The DNR uses those numbers to help determine the bag limit per day per fisherman and the size limit for the trout.
FVTC students have been working with the DNR for about 50 years and the students have been doing the electrofishing project at Radley Creek for 15 years.
Check out the photo gallery below and read more about the project from Spectrum News 1: