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Shocking Results from DNR Shocking Crew


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Members from the Driftless Stream Community gather streamside to witness a stream shocking demonstration held by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on March 14th. “This stream is one of our success stories” explains Jordan Weeks, fish biologist. “They (TUDARE) came though here, removed the brown trout, did some restoration, and aggressive brook trout stocking and the trout just took off.” In about the 100 yards of stream shocked, there was close to 100 trout netted.

Watching the DNR shock trout was an interesting event, and a great tie in for the TUDARE event. Weeks explained how the shocking system worked. “There are two styles of shockers: The primary unit sits on a boat and we pull it behind us; and the back pack model which fits on the back of the shocker. ” Both units provide shocking range of about 2-3 feet in a stream. The shocker makes gradual sweeps with the wand, slowly staring at the farthest reach and working towards the body. This technique escorts the fish towards the shocker’s net and allows the fish to be captured.

A significant amount of the brook trout had gill lice. Weeks explained “we’re seeing gill lice in a lot of brook trout. It seems this stream is infested with them. We haven’t seen any impact that the gill lice are having on the trout. We don’t know where they came from, they (the gill lice) can be from before we came here.”

Weeks also talked about the distribution of brown trout in formally brook trout dominated streams. The theory is streams are warming up. Brook trout tend to stay away from streams that are below 60*. Once the streams start to warm up, the brook trout populations decrease as they prefer cooler water and the brown trout population tends to increase. He placed emphasis on stream restoration in reflection on how the restoration helps keep streams cooler.

“you can have a lot of fish that are smaller, or you can have a few BIG fish.” weeks explains “you can’t have both, if you did it would be like shangri la.” “Have you ever heard of the good ‘ole days of fishing? this is it, right here, right now. Trout fishing hasn’t been as good today in history.”

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