Tennessee Valley Authority biologists are conducting their annual spring sport fish survey to assess the overall health of species such as crappie and black bass on nine TVA reservoirs in Alabama and Tennessee.
Angling enthusiasts and other members of the public interested in the state of the fishery and how the surveys are conducted are invited to observe. The surveys start March 11 on Wilson Reservoir near Muscle Shoals, Al., and continue through May 1, on Douglas Reservoir near Knoxville.
Other reservoirs to be sampled are Nickajack, Chickamauga, Guntersville, Wheeler, Pickwick, Watts Bar and Fort Loudoun.
TVA biologists use boat-mounted electro-fishing equipment to harmlessly stun the fish for a brief time and cause them to surface so they can be collected, examined and evaluated. Once weighed, measured and counted, the fish are released.
The abundance, distribution, age, relative weight and general health of the fish is recorded and tabulated. Results of the surveys, which have been conducted every year since 1995, are used internally at TVA and shared with state agencies to protect and improve sport fishing.
During each survey, TVA fisheries biologists will leave designated boat ramps at 7:30 a.m. local time and survey the fish until mid-afternoon. Participants with life jackets may join survey crews in TVA boats or follow in their personal boats.
Anyone interested in going with TVA biologists on the survey should call the TVA Environmental Information Center at 800 882-5263 to schedule a time. Space is limited. The Environmental Information Center operates from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, Monday-Friday.
For more information on the TVA annual sport fish surveys and a complete list of survey locations, visit http://www.tva.com/river/fishsurvey.htm.