DRIGGS, Idaho - Monday began the second week of a fish population survey on the Teton River, but the method used may shock you.
Idaho Fish and Game and Friends of the Teton River used electrofishing in a bi-annual study of the river's fishery. The study focused on Rainbow, Brook, Brown and Cutthroat Trout.
Matt Devine works with Friends of the Teton River, an environmental restoration group in Driggs. He said the survey requires a lot of help.
"It's a big cooperative effort, and we need as many hands as possible to make that happen," said Devine.
A few volunteers and other Friends of the Teton River waited while Idaho Fish and Game's Brett High prepared the boats. Each of the three boats were geared with a generator, pulsator and annode on the bow.
High said some people worry the electrical current will kill the fish, but the mortality rate is about 1 percent.
"We get calls every year, especially when we sample the Teton River, because some people see dead fish," said High.
The boats maneuver in a way so the fish can be stunned, netted and kept in a live well as they survey stretches of the river. The trout are then tagged with what is called a Passive Integrated Transponder tag. The fishes' movement can then be tracked for the next few years.
In addition, the weight, length and species are also recorded for the study. The numbers from last week and this week are used in a formula to give them an estimate of the river's population.
"It's a very efficient way for biologists to get their hands on a lot of fish in a hurry," said High.