HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — At first glance, the fish floating belly up in the lake at Aldridge Gardens Wednesday morning may have looked like they were having the worst day of their life, but that was actually far from the case.
“Something you don’t see every day. We want to know how much of what species are in the lake,” said Colin Conner, Parks & Maintenance manager.
The scene wasn’t a flopping fish funeral. Instead, it was quite the opposite. Their temporary stupor resulted from something designed to check on their well-being — what’s called an electrofishing evaluation.
“The pulsing simply relaxes the fish long enough for them to be caught and then inventoried. It doesn’t harm the fish in any way. Literally [takes] a minute, maybe 30 seconds to a minute,” Conner said.
The City of Hoover’s maintenance department hired Southeastern Pond Management to help them safely evaluate their fish population ahead of fishing season. In a specialized boat, they rode around the lake, sending small shocks into the water, stunning the fish temporarily and causing them to rise to the top.
Then, they caught some stunned fish in their net and counted them as samples. After they’re weighed, the fish are released to live — and swim — another day.
The process drew some onlookers, including Hoover mayor Frank Brocato.
“We want to make sure we keep everything in balance. Never seen it done so that’s why I’m out here, I was really curious to see what it looked like,” Brocato said.
93-year-old fisherman Willie Edmiston also came out to watch.
“People love the water,” Edmiston said.