State using hydroacoustics to aid in counting Beaver Lake sport fish

Technology used in the study of ocean marine life has found its way to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists to help them keep game fish healthy.

Game and Fish is in the third year of a study on Beaver and DeGray lakes using hydroacoustics in combination with tried-and-true sampling methods of electrofishing and trawling to determine the status of the forage base in the two lakes, said Sam Lusk, a Game and Fish biologist.

The method of how sport fish populations have been studied in the past has been "flipped on its head" with hydroacoustics and studying forage, Lusk said. The work was more reactive in observing a sport fish's condition and growth.

"When we saw problems, the problem was already there," Lusk said.

This approach starts closer to the lower end of the food chain. Shad make up those meals in the middle of a large lake for bass and other sport fish.

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