Shocking the Willoughby River in Northeastern Vermont

State of Vermont fisheries biologist Len Gerardi brandishes an electrical wand to stun any fish in the immediate area with 500 volts. Fish in vicinity of the electrical charge are momentarily stunned and swept up in nets. The program seeks to catch only wild fish for the hatchery in Newark. After spawning in the hatchery, the female fish get an electrode implanted in them. Then, they are returned to the river. Male fish are used for disease testing and then discarded. The department tries to catch about 150 fish per year.Many fishermen oppose the shocking program. There is a belief that some fish are killed or injured by the electrical charge.

VT Fish and Wildlife team shock and capture fish on the Willoughby River outside Orleans

VT Fish and Wildlife team "shock" trout in order to catch them for restocking project

fish caught in net on the Willoughby River during VT Fish and Wildlife restocking program

Vermont’s population of native brook trout is healthy but could be affected by a warming climate. There are calls for a further limit on catches. Read more about Anglers seeking lower catch limits for Vermont’s state cold-water fish here