Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

A refined electrofishing technique for collecting Silver Carp: Implications for management

January 4, 2017

Detecting nuisance species at low abundance or in newly established areas is critical to developing pest management strategies. Due to their sensitivity to disturbance and erratic jumping behavior, Silver Carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix can be difficult to collect with traditional sampling methods. We compared catch per unit effort (CPUE) of all species from a Long Term Resource Monitoring (LTRM) electrofishing protocol to an experimental electrofishing technique designed to minimize Silver Carp evasion through tactical boat maneuvering and selective application of power. Differences in CPUE between electrofishing methods were detected for 2 of 41 species collected across 2 years of sampling at 20 sites along the Illinois River. The mean catch rate of Silver Carp using the experimental technique was 2.2 times the mean catch rate of the LTRM electrofishing technique; the increased capture efficiency at low relative abundance emphasizes the utility of this method for early detection. The experimental electrofishing also collected slightly larger Silver Carp (mean: 510.7 mm TL versus 495.2 mm TL), and nearly four times as many Silver Carp independently jumped into the boat during experimental transects. Novel sampling approaches, such as the experimental electrofishing technique used in this study, should be considered to increase probability of detection for aquatic nuisance species.