Gillnetting Island Park Reservoir

Sunday, July 8, 2012 - 11:07am


Nessarose Schear

The other day we met up with some great folks from Fish and Game (Greg, Jamie, and Jordan) and helped them survey the fish populations in Island Park Reservoir.  They had put down ten huge nets at various sites the night before, and we pulled them out in the morning.  We brought the nets over to the shore and set about detangling the fish. Gillnets are appropriately named because the fish’s gills get tangled in the holes when they try to swim past. Untangling them without mutilating them was a little tricky, but we had to be careful because we needed to accurately measure the length of each fish.

Fish and Game has been tracking fish populations in the Island Park Reservoir for a while, so the data we were collecting will help them determine population trends. For each fish we weighed and measured them. For the few rainbow trout we caught we also collected the otoliths aka the ear bones. Charlie was able to pull them out in a record 11 seconds! All in all we caught close to 1,000 fish, mostly suckers and chubs. One little kokanee also made it into a net!  Working with Fish and Game was super fun; they treated us to a delicious lunch and taught us the difference between the types of fish.  Hopefully we can grab a few more beautiful days out on the water with them.