Fisheries Staff Test Latest Technology

Employees of the Kanas Department of Wildlife and Parks recently tested the latest fishing technologies as part of a groundbreaking study.

According to the organization, many advances in technology arise from the desire to improve productivity and efficiency, and the fishing industry is no exception. One such achievement that forces many fishermen to “choose sides” is the introduction and dissemination of a live image sonar (LIS) – a sonar that allows fishermen to view fish and structure under and around their vessel in real time and often with a large clarity. While some believe that LIS adds tremendous value to the overall fishing experience, others believe that it creates an ethical dilemma by blurring the boundaries of “fair pursuit”. So if the promotion is too advanced? This data was searched by KDWP Fisheries but could not be found; thus, they themselves developed it in the first of its kind study.

“As a conservation organization, we always want to turn to science and ask ourselves,‘ What does the data tell us? ’” Said KDWP Fisheries biologist Ben Neely. “But this technology is new enough that this data is not really there. That’s when we decided we needed to research this further and develop the research. Since then, it has been like wildfire in conservation communities. ”

KDWP Fisheries decided to conduct a controlled and repeated experiment to assess the impact of LIS on catches of winter spot – the second most popular sport fish in Kansas. Specifically, the project was designed to study the impact of LIS on “casual anglers on weekends” who catch unfamiliar water while traveling on weekends.

In early December 2021, a two-week experiment at Cedar Bluff Reservoir involved 32 people from the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at KDWP and the University of Kansas. Fishermen were randomly pooled and instructed to fish for seven hours on the northern or southern sides of the lake, with or without LIS assistance. The next day, each team changed sides and used equipment; This resulted in a total of 16 controlled “samples”. The results were unexpected.

  • Participants who did not use LIS caught an average of 6.3 crepes per day, while fishermen who used LIS caught 7.3 crepes per day.
  • When the study counted other fish species, teams that did not use LIS averaged 12.9 fish per day, compared with 14.4 per fish per day when LIS was used.
  • And fishermen also caught an average of slightly larger spot (10.8 inches) when using LIS, compared to fish (10.5 inches) caught by fishermen who did not use LIS.

Ultimately, the data collected demonstrated that while LIS could improve fishermen’s catches and spot sizes by occasional anglers, overall differences were statistically minimal. And more importantly, the data indicate an overall low risk of long-term damage to the crappie population as a result of LIS. However, fishermen with extensive experience and experience using LIS for spotting targeting were not considered in this study. Future research is being discussed that could use the abilities of more experienced LIS fishermen to further inform future krappi management in Kansas.

“Balancing sociological needs with biological needs is at the heart of almost everything we do at KDWP,” said KDWP Secretary Brad Lawless. “This study is a great example of how our employees continue to work with the best available data to make science-based decisions that benefit not only the resource but also our users. I am confident that this study will be just one of many that the conservation industry is counting on, as our talented staff in Kansas continue to pave the way for research and fisheries management. ”

To learn more about this study, watch Nile’s audio-video presentation here,


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