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DEC surveys Caz Lake wildlife

Testing of aquatic life, water quality to continue this summer

ANCHORS UP: Fish and Wildlife Technician Ian Blackburn, left, and biologists Jim Everard and Scott Pringle prepare to survey Cazenovia Lake on May 9. The DEC representatives used “electroshocking” to subdue indigenous fish for observation and evaluation of water quality.

ANCHORS UP: Fish and Wildlife Technician Ian Blackburn, left, and biologists Jim Everard and Scott Pringle prepare to survey Cazenovia Lake on May 9. The DEC representatives used “electroshocking” to subdue indigenous fish for observation and evaluation of water quality. Photo by Pierce Smith.

— Although local anglers have traditionally depended on word-of-mouth to get the scoop on prime fishing areas, they will soon be able to learn more about the vitality of aquatic life in Cazenovia Lake through reports released by the New York State Department of Conservation.

On the evenings of May 9 and 10, three DEC representatives ventured along the shore of the lake to evaluate indigenous wildlife. Using a humane process known as “electroshocking” to subdue fish and gather information, one fish and wildlife technician and two biologists tested numerous areas of Cazenovia Lake over the course of seven hours during the two days.

“Our main goal is just a general fisheries survey, the one we [conducted] is called a ‘Centrarchid Survey,’ where bass are the prime targets. The lake has never been surveyed though, so we will also be looking at the other species, sizes, ages, number we catch per hour, etc.” said Aquatic Biologist James Everard. “This survey will be the first step in getting a handle on the lake’s fish community and abundance of predators in the lake. Our next survey would be a ‘Gill Net Survey’ in the summer. We will than use all the data we collect from both to determine if walleye stocking would be worth trying, or not – mainly, would walleye survive.”

Following the testing this summer, Everard said laboratory analysis will take place, and the DEC expects to release a final report on their website this autumn.

During the Centrarchid survey, which is often conducted along area streams, a long metal arm with a carousel of wires attached at the end is lowered into the water, and a small amount of electricity is emitted.

Nearby fish are momentarily stunned and float to the surface, where they are then corralled in a net and temporarily kept for observation in a well onboard the boat.

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