Sampling a littoral fish assemblage: Comparison of small-mesh fyke netting and boat electrofishing

Carl R. Ruetz, Donald G. Uzarski, Damon M. Krueger, Edward S. Rutherford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


We compared small-mesh (4-mm) fyke netting and boat electrofishing for sampling a littoral fish assemblage in Muskegon Lake, Michigan. We hypothesized that fyke netting selects for small-bodied fishes and electrofishing selects for large-bodied fishes. Three sites were sampled during May (2004 and 2005), July (2005 only), and September (2004 and 2005). We found that the species composition of captured fish differed considerably between fyke netting and electrofishing based on nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMDS). Species strongly associated with fyke netting (based on NMDS and relative abundance) included the brook silverside Labidestkes sicculus, banded killifish Fundulus diaphanus, round goby Neogobius melanostomus, mimic shiner Notropis volucellus, and bluntnose minnow Pimephales notatus, whereas species associated with electrofishing included the Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, catostomids (Moxostoma spp. and Catostomus spp.), freshwater drum Aplodinotus grunniens, walleye Sander vitreus, gizzard shad Dorosoma cepedianum, and common carp Cyprinus carpio. The total length of fish captured by electrofishing was 12.8 cm (95% confidence interval = 5.5-17.2 cm) greater than that of fish captured by fyke netting. Size selectivity of the gears contributed to differences in species composition of the fish captured, supporting our initial hypothesis. Thus, small-mesh fyke nets and boat electrofishers provided complementary information on a littoral fish assemblage. Our results support use of multiple gear types in monitoring and research surveys of fish assemblages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-831
Number of pages7
JournalNorth American Journal of Fisheries Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


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