USGS - science for a changing world

Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

The Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program

Long Term Resource Monitoring

Fisheries

Upper Mississippi River Restoration - Environmental Management Program U. S. Army Corps of Enineers

Standardized Monitoring
Background
Graphical Database Browser
Annual Update
Data Download

 

Methods

Study Areas for standard sampling

Sampling Methods

The Long Term Resource Monitoring (LTRM) element fish monitoring design and sampling protocols, including historical changes, are given in Gutreuter et al. (1995). Readers requiring detailed descriptions should refer to that report. An abbreviated description of the LTRM design and protocols follows; a list of common and scientific names of fish used in this report is found in Table 1. As water levels are often suspected of affecting fish populations and community stratum, hydrographs are provided for each study area and each year sampled.

We summarize the annual increment of fish data obtained by the LTRM from stratified random and fixed-site sampling by year. The LTRM converted to a stratified random fish sampling design in 1993, augmented with limited sampling at a few permanently fixed sites. Selected aquatic areas, chosen for their enduring geomorphic features (Wilcox 1993), were used as sampling strata. Each aquatic area is artificially partitioned into 50-m2 sampling grids beginning with a random origin for each LTRM study reach (Gutreuter et al. 1995) using a geographic information system. Beginning in 1993, sampling sites were randomly chosen from this lattice of square grids. Whenever it is discovered that a randomly selected site cannot be sampled because of environmental constraints (e.g., limited physical access or high flow), the nearest accessible site from a list of randomly selected alternate sites is sampled within the same aquatic area class.

After an evaluation of the fish sampling gear deployment scheme (Ickes and Burkhardt 2002), the LTRM eliminated the use of night electrofishing, seining in all strata, and offshore netting in impounded and backwater strata. Major changes for the sampling design are summarized in the LTRMP Fish Component Sampling History section. The following is a summary of the sampling gears according to Gutreuter et al. (1995):

Electrofishing

Electrofishing is conducted with pulsed direct current; boat configuration and power output are standardized (Burkhardt and Gutreuter 1995; Gutreuter et al. 1995). Electrofishing effort is of 15-min duration and is paced so that the boat covers a rectangle of about 200 × 30 m. Day and night electrofishing data from these two methods were combined for length analysis. The unit of effort is a 15-min run.

Fyke Net

The LTRM uses Wisconsin-type fyke nets (trap nets) that contain three sections: the lead, frame, and cab. All netting is 1.8-cm mesh (bar measure). Leads are 15 m long and 1.3 m high. The spring steel frames are 0.9 m high and 1.8 m wide with two internal wing throats. The cabs are constructed of six steel hoops (0.9 m in diameter) containing two throats. These nets are fished singly from shoreline or from beds of dense vegetation or in tandem (with leads connected) offshore. The unit of effort is a net-day, where each frame is one net. Fyke and tandem fyke netting data were combined for length distribution analysis.

Mini Fyke Net

Mini fyke nets are small, Wisconsin-type fyke nets. Mesh size is 3-mm Ace-type nylon. The leads are 4.5 m long and 0.6 m high. The spring steel frames are 0.6 m high and 1.2 m wide with two internal wing throats. The cabs are constructed of two steel hoops (0.6 m in diameter) with one throat. These nets are fished singly from shoreline or from beds of dense vegetation or in tandem (with leads connected) offshore. The unit of effort is a net-day, where each frame is one net.

Hoop Net

The LTRM uses two sizes of hoop nets. The large nets are composed of seven fiberglass hoops with diameters of 1.1–1.2 m. These nets are 4.8 m long, contain two finger-style throats, and are constructed of 3.7-cm nylon mesh (bar measure). The small nets are composed of seven fiberglass hoops with diameters of 0.5 to 0.6 m. The small nets are 3 m long, contain two finger-style throats, and are constructed of 1.8-cm nylon mesh (bar measure). Hoop nets are deployed separately but in pairs within sampling sites. Both nets are baited with 3 kg of soybean cake. Because of gear inefficiency, hoop net sets in BWCO areas were optional during 1999. For this report, the estimates from pairs of nets are pooled and, therefore, treated as a single gear for consistency with the 1990–92 data. The unit of effort is a net-day, which is 24 h of effort by a pair of nets.

Seine

The LTRM uses 10.7-m-long seines constructed of 3-mm Ace-type nylon mesh. These seines are 1.8 m high and have a 0.9-m2 bag in the centers. Seines are extended perpendicularly to shorelines and then swept in a 90 arc downstream to the shoreline.

Gill Net

In 1993, gill nets became an optional experimental sampling gear. This option was included to improve monitoring capabilities for some large riverine species. Gill nets are 91.44 m long and consist of four, 22.86-m panels of monofilament mesh. The panels are 2.44 m deep. Each panel consists of different mesh of 10.2-, 20.3-, and 25.4-cm stretch measure. The 10.2- and 15.2-cm mesh are woven from No. 8 (9.07-kg [20-lb] test) transparent nylon monofilament. The 25.4-cm mesh is woven from No. 12 (13.61-kg [30-lb] test) transparent nylon monofilament. The top line is floating foam-core rope and the bottom line is 29.5-kg lead-core rope. Gill nets are set either perpendicularly (preferred) or parallel (in high-flow conditions) to the shoreline. The standard unit of gill netting effort is the net-day, where a day is 24 h.

Anchored Trammel Net

In 1994, anchored trammel nets became an optional experimental sampling gear. This option was included to improve monitoring capabilities for some large riverine species. Trammel nets may be anchored or drifted with the current.

Trammel nets are 91.44 × 2.44 m, inside netting is 10.16-cm bar of No. 8 monofilament hung about 85 m per 30.48 m of finished net. The net wall size is 35.56-cm bar of No. 9 multifilament twine hung 61 m per 30.48 yards of finished net. The net float line is 1.27-cm foam-core (two strands on the floating nets, one strand on the bottom set nets), and the lead line is lead-core (No. 20 on the floating net, No. 65 on the sinking net).

Bottom Trawl

Bottom trawl is conducted only at permanently fixed-site sampling locations in tailwater zones and unstructured channel borders. The LTRM trawls collect mainly small, bottom-dwelling fish. The trawls are two-seam, 4.8-m slingshot balloon trawls (TRL16BC, Memphis Net and Twine Co., Inc., or the equivalent). The body of the trawl is made of No. 9 nylon with stretch mesh 18 mm in diameter. The cod end is made of No. 18 nylon with stretch mesh 18 mm in diameter. The cod end contains a 1.8-m liner consisting of 3 mm Ace-type nylon mesh. Floats are spaced every 0.91 m along the headrope, and a 4.8-mm steel chain is tied to the footrope. The trawl is equipped with 37-cm-high by 75-cm-long iron "V" doors (otter boards). These trawls are dragged downriver by small, flat-bottomed boats. Trawl speed is barely faster than ambient current speed. The standard unit of trawling effort is a haul. A minimum of six hauls are collected in main or side channel sites and four hauls at tailwater sites.

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey

URL: http://www.umesc.usgs.gov/reports_publications/ltrmp/fish/fish_methods.html
Page Contact Information: Contacting the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
Page Last Modified: November 24, 2015 November 24, 2015