Every year around this time the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife gets a late night phone call about a UFO landing on a Maine lake or pond. There are lights, strange illuminations and weird beeps and sounds! Have no fear Mainers, it's just the MDIFW out there electrofishing.  Wait. What? Electrofishing?!

Here's an electrofishing boat. It has an onboard electric generator. A boom sends an electric current into the water to temporarily stun the fish.

Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

OK, why are we stunning fish at night with electrofishing boats? Valid question. From our friends at MDIFW: 

"Each year about this time, the regional fisheries staff of the Sebago Lakes Region sample 2-4 different waters to collect baseline information on the bass population(s), as well as determine the relative abundance of other fish species. Sampling is done at this time of year during the night, because the fish are more likely to be in shallower water spawning and are less likely to be spooked by the approach of a boat."



The boat is operated by three people. The fish are stunned and then brought on the boat with a net. They are measured and weighed and then put back in the water good to go. About 50 lakes and ponds have been done so far.




Finally, a thank you and a warning from the MDIFW. These mysterious nighttime forays with strange electrofishing boats are all for a very good cause...  "The next time your “upta camp”, beware of those nocturnal biologists.  Hopefully, we will not be interrupting your peaceful evening, but if we do…it’s all to evaluate, protect, and enhance our important fishery resources"