Wild Jobs: Fish Shocker Kenda Flores

By | June 1, 2010
From Xplor: June/July 2010

This fish tale is shocking!

Kenda Flores’ job is to catch fish, but she doesn’t grab a fishing pole. “That’s fishing,” she says, “and when you’re fishing, you don’t always catch fish.” To discover the variety of fish in a stream, Kenda straps on a backpack fish shocker, turns on the battery and wades in.

Normally, you shouldn’t mix water and electricity, but Kenda knows how to do it safely. Rubber gloves and waders keep her from being shocked while standing in the water. If she starts to fall, the power automatically turns off.

When Kenda places the probe in the water, it creates a positive charge that attracts fish. She sets the intensity of the current based on the stream’s temperature, depth and size. Her goal is to stun, but not kill the fish.

Within seconds, dazed fish float to the water’s surface, and another fisheries biologist quickly nets them so they can be counted and identified. The other biologist has to be quick because the fish swim off after a few seconds. In clean, healthy water, stunned bass and other large fish float out from under root wads and rock shelters.

Kenda finds minnows and other small fish around plants and between rocks in the middle of the stream. If she doesn’t, she looks for reasons why. If a stream bank is eroding, she helps landowners plant trees along the bank to stop the problem. She helps ranchers find other ways to water cattle than in the stream. Her goal is to help fish have what they need to survive—clean water.

When not working, you can often find Kenda on a stream or lake with her fishing pole. And, since she studies where fish hang out, it’s no shock she knows how to catch them. Fish Shocker

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This Issue's Staff

David Besenger
Bonnie Chasteen
Chris Cloyd
Peg Craft
Les Fortenberry
Chris Haefke
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Kevin Lanahan
Joan McKee
Kevin Muenks
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Alicia Weaver
Cliff White
Kipp Woods