Hydroacoustic Technology – A Standard Approach to Sample Warmwater Fish Communities in Large Standing Waters?
We evaluated hydroacoustics as a standard gear type for sampling pelagic fish species in Arizona warmwater and coolwater reservoirs. This required analyzing the gear’s ability to estimate fish biomass and individual sizes, as well as its ability to identify fishes to the species level, with or without alternative gear. Additionally, we investigated the feasibility of deploying hydroacoustics gear in reservoirs across the state of Arizona. We sampled with hydroacoustics gear in reservoirs of various sizes throughout Arizona during the spring field seasons of 2020 and 2021 (March through May). The hydroacoustics sampling was done in conjunction with gill net and electrofishing sampling and was effective for sampling fish in the pelagic zones. This study will inform AZDGF staff of the effectiveness of using hydroacoustics gear. The study will also help produce a standard protocol for sampling reservoirs with hydroacoustics gear in the state of Arizona. While hydroacoustics is not currently recommended by AFS Standard Methods for sampling fishes in warmwater standing waters, it may be considered as a standard method in future editions of the book. Field work on this project has finished, the thesis is complete and results are being submitted for publication.