We were surveying the Imperial Division of the Colorado River sampling specifically for flathead catfish in May. This flathead fishery is very popular with local anglers and a few other anglers in the state, but is relatively unknown by most anglers in the state.
We conduct this electrofishing survey annually to assess the overall health of the flathead catfish population of the lower Colorado River and to assess if the population is being overharvested (which they are not because we have a ton of fish down here).
We are able to specifically target flathead catfish using electrofishing for this survey due to their higher overall sensitivity to electrofishing than most fish. Basically we are able to turn the amount of electricity we are putting into the water way down and only flathead catfish will be affected due to their lack of scales. All fish were captured, placed into a live well where they recovered, measured/weighed, and released unharmed back into the river.
Ryan Follmuth is AZGFD’s Aquatic Wildlife Program Manager out of Yuma