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Clear Creek shocking report

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It was steaming hot. It was exhausting. It was a blast. Yesterday morning four ISA members (Myself, Paul Trybul, Paul Trybul Sr., and Jeff Blevins) met up with three DNR people (Dan Sallee, Karen Rivera, and Rick ?) for a day of electro-sampling.


We met at the Apple River State Park at 10:00. After a short pep talk explaining the process and the safety issues we pulled on the waders to get started. Paul and I both were cussing out Tim Smith as we noticed Dan putting on breathable waders. Here it was going to be a gazzillion degrees, and on the advice of Tim, we were in neoprene. We had to retract our cussing later on, though, because Dan did get the occasional jolt through his breathables. Sorry we doubted you, Tim.


The set up uses an "electric seine" stretched across the stream and pulled upstream just like a regular seine. Instead of a net hanging down between the seiners (Karen and Dan), there are a bunch of electrodes dangling down, which shock the fish temporarily. The ISA guys acted as the "dippers". We walked directly behind the seine and dipped out the stunned fish with long handled dip nets. Behind the dippers, Rick pulled a little aluminum boat which held the generator and a tub with aerated water.


As we headed upstream, the action seemed to go in spurts. A few here and there until we'd come to a pool. At the pools all heck would break loose as the dippers scrambled to net the hundreds of fish that floated up. Actually, the ones that floated up were much easier to net than the many that stayed towards the bottom. Once you had a bunch in your net, you'd have to rush back to dump them into the tub then hurry back to the seine for more. Four guys with long handled nets in a narrow rocky stream running back and forth from seine to tub. I can't believe no one went down or took a net handle to the head.


We finished the 650' Clear Creek stretch around 11:30 or 12:00. We were steaming hot and physically spent! I had no idea how much work was involved. At this point the Trybuls stoked up the grill to cook some pork chops Dan brought for lunch while Jeff and I helped record the catch. Dan weighed and measured the fish and called out the stats to Karen, who wrote them down. This stretch yielded surprisingly few smallies, and all were small. I believe we got more stocked trout than bass.

We also got plenty of suckers, chubs, minnows, and stone rollers.


After a lunch of pork chop sandwiches and chips, Karen said she would like to do another 650' section of similar water if we were up for it. The Trybuls and Jeff all had commitments later in the day, but we all decided to stick around and help as much as possible. The next stretch was a stretch of the Apple that was a little rockier than Clear Creek. This stretch held a lot more bass, but again, none of any size to speak of. We got it done in time for the Pauls and Jeff to get on the road at a decent time.


It was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun. Dan, Karen, and Rick made it very enjoyable and they were very appreciative of the manpower the ISA supplied. Karen really knows her fish. You, too can join in the fun!! The DNR has asked for our help shocking some Pecatonica River tribs the last week of June. They will be needing dippers June 25-28. Paul posted about it in this forum, so give him a call to sign up.

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I really wish I could have been there but other commitments kept me away.


Did you shock up any darters or rare fish.


I dont own a pair of neoprenes anymore, how bad was Dan's experience with the breathables? Would he do it again?

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Hey Steve...The Ozark minnow seemed to get Karen's attention, but nothing too exceptional. The Pecatonica trib shockings next week should produce a bigger variety of game fish.


I don't think Dan got it too bad. He didn't even mention it after lunch, which was after he ripped a nice sized hole in the crotch.

Actually, I think Jeff had breathables on as well, and he didn't mention any issues. How about it, Jeff....did you catch any juice?

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Jeff answered my question about the breathables: he said a couple times he felt a little tingle behind his knees. Nothing bad at all. He said in that heat, he would choose the breathables again.

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I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. I hope some other people can get out and see what this activity is all about. Electrofishing is a real eye-opener and a must-see.


Confession: I have also shocked in breathables and in shallow water conditions I would again without hesitation. In any deep water, however, the breathables are going to let current through if you are sweating at all. The upper limit of that current has the potential to be dangerous and there was no way I would expose an ISA member to that risk.


Most recently, I've been using the big rubber chest waders (which are way hotter than your neoprenes, so quit your whining! :P ).

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All I have to say is this was a pretty cool experience that I'm glad I got the chance to experience. Out of approximately 400 ISA members I can't believe 396 missed out. It was your loss to get some real inside information. You still have one more chance if you can get off next week to help shock some Pecatonica River tribs.


It happened pretty much the way Jude described it. Here are some pictures:


First you have to put up net barriers both upstream and down.


Then we lined up behind the electricity and got to be the dippers.




Then they measured, ID, and released them.



Of coarse it wasn't all work and no play.



The big fish did seem to escape us but we did get decent numbers of smallmouth

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