Snorkeling as a survey method
Submitted by Kim Portwood on Fri, 2017-06-23 00:00
There were 6 of us that went snorkeling in the river looking for trout. First of all, that water is just as cold as I imagined it would be. The way to find trout is to start downstream of a calmer, deeper area of the river and slowly make your way upstream by grasping rocks and pulling yourself along. This sounds easy in theory. In real life, it is much more difficult. First of all, the current pulls you downstream as you cling to smooth, slimy rocks on the bottom. Sometimes the current is strong enough that you and the anchor rock you were clinging to both go downstream. The fisheries biologist told us that the bigger cutthroat will be at the edge of the pools because they sit and wait for the easy food to come their way. The smaller fish are further downstream and they have to work a bit harder for the food. After a bit of practice, we were able to view several fish in the pool. They looked like pretty large fish until you think about the magnification of the water and realize that they were about 12 inches or so. It amazes me that this survey technique is still used. We did learn that the latest technique of DNA sampling the river will most likely replace this and other on the ground techniques. I feel bad that the sampling jobs will not be available to future generations. After talking to other members of the camp, we realized that there will still be jobs, but they will be different. People will be doing the work from a lab rather than the field. Interesting.