Anglers and boaters may see strange
looking boats on state lakes beginning February and March. Each
spring, fisheries personnel from the Oklahoma Department of
Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) use the odd-looking boats to
conduct their annual largemouth bass electrofishing surveys.
Electrofishing boats use one or two
long booms, which extend out several feet in front of the boat.
Thick cables or a basketball-sized metal ball dangle from the
booms into the water. A generator located on the boat sends a
powerful electrical current through the cables or ball, which
sends out a large field of electricity into the water
surrounding the boat. Any bass near the boat become stunned
which allow fisheries workers to use long dip nets to scoop the
bass up and place them into a holding tank.
According to Barry Bolton, ODWC
assistant chief of fisheries, electrofishing is an effective way
of determining the condition of bass populations.
"First of all, electrofishing does
not harm the bass. The current stuns the fish, but they are
released unharmed once we weigh and measure the fish," said
Bolton. "Among several parameters, our fisheries crews use
electrofishing to determine the relative size, abundance and
condition of bass. We then compare these findings to previous
year's results to determine how our management strategies are
working on a particular lake. The information we gain through
electrofishing often leads to specific bass regulations such as
changing a 14-inch minimum length limit to a 13-16-inch slot
length limit on lakes that have a high abundance of small bass,
but with slow growth rates."
Largemouth bass fishing and management
will be the featured topic of an upcoming episode of
"Outdoor Oklahoma" February 3 at 800 a.m. on OETA-The
Oklahoma Network. ODWC fisheries biologist, Gene Gilliland joins
well-known bass fisherman, Chuck Justice, on McGee Creek Lake in
southeast Oklahoma. Among many topics the pair will discuss the
concern surrounding the Largemouth Bass Virus which has been
documented on several Oklahoma lakes.
Outdoor Oklahoma features such topics
as fishing, hunting; and fisheries, game and non-game wildlife
management. The 30-minute program can be seen on OETA-The
Oklahoma Network Sundays at 800 a.m. and Saturdays at 600 p.m.
Outdoor Oklahoma can also be seen on the following television
stations KSBI Network (greater OKC metro area), Mondays- 500
p.m., Thursdays-10 30 p.m., Saturdays-130 p.m., KTEN
(south-central and southeastern Oklahoma) Sundays-5 a.m., KWEM
(Stillwater), Wednesdays-800 p.m., Fridays-700 p.m. and
For a complete listing of show times
and channels in your viewing area, consult the Department's Web
site at www.wildlifedepartment.com or your local TV guide.