What electroshocking really looks like Fisheries biologists go out on California's Clear Lake in an electroshocking boat to survey the fish. The fishes' weight, measurement and species are documented for research. Posted on June 17, 2014 Photo: Tyler Reed - This odd-looking boat took me for a very shocking ride, literally, in May on Californiaâs Clear Lake. Itâs an electroshocking boat that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife uses to study the numbers, sizes and species of fish in a body of water. Photo: Tyler Reed - Biologist Jay Rowan was one of the crew of three boats that were part of the fish population study. He checked to be sure all his electronics were working on the research vessel before we took off. Photo: Tyler Reed - Kevin Thomas, left, and Ken Kundargi, right, said the only rule in the boat is not to reach over and touch the water. They said I would die. Or possibly feel really bad for a while. Photo: Tyler Reed - It was very light out for 7 p.m. The crews are taking this ride out for the media only; all their work is done in the dark. Photo: Tyler Reed - âThe fish come up easier in the dark,â said Thomas, as he got the shocking equipment ready. The fish are more aware of the boat in the daytime. At night, they clump up near the banks more, too, which makes them easier to find in a small area. Photo: Tyler Reed - Thomas lowered the cables into the water. Photo: Tyler Reed - And then it was go time. Kundargi and Thomas took their places on the platform and got ready so they could stay dry and safe. Photo: Tyler Reed - Kundargi would pull the fish up with the net whenever one floated to the surface. Photo: Tyler Reed - All systems are a go â¦ Photo: Tyler Reed - â¦ and Thomas draws in the first one. Photo: Tyler Reed - I didnât even know the electricity had come on yet. I assumed you would hear buzzing or crackling or see the surface sizzling, but everything just looked normal â except that fish were popping up to the surface belly first. Photo: Tyler Reed - The carp are huge â¦ Photo: Tyler Reed - â¦ and even though several other carp came up, the biologists didnât scoop them in. They werenât performing a true count after all; it was just a demo. And the carp take up so much room in the livewell that pulling in more would make it harder to get them all out afterward. Photo: Tyler Reed - This little guy was next â¦ Photo: Tyler Reed - Clear Lake only has nine native species, Thomas explained. It has 27 non-native species, including bass. Photo: Tyler Reed - As long as this is in the water, you donât want to be in the water. Photo: Tyler Reed - Finally, a bass. âWeâll get much bigger ones tonight,â said Thomas, referring to the 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. shift the three men are about to work with two other boats. âWe got several 8-pounders last night.â Photo: Tyler Reed - âAnd this would be a great spot at night,â Thomas added, âright up against the edge.â Their spots for that night, however, had already been scientifically mapped out, and this was not one of them. Photo: Tyler Reed - Rowan would steer them to the correct spot later that evening. They would hit six areas for precisely 500 seconds each. The biologists survey most water bodies on an annual basis to check for trends in size and population changes of multiple fish species. Photo: Tyler Reed - This bass is stunned but OK. Heâll stay in this state for just a few minutes, then heâll come to and be completely unharmed. Photo: Tyler Reed - Thatâs a solid-looking bass for sure. Weâll measure them all once the 500 seconds is up. (Thatâs 8.33 minutes if youâre trying to do it in your head.) Photo: Tyler Reed - Timeâs up. Now the scientists take each fish out to document it. Photo: Tyler Reed - Thomas will handle the fish, Kundargi will handle the weights and Rowan will handle the documentation. Photo: Tyler Reed - âI love this part of my job,â said Thomas. âI get to be out of the office, and I never fail to catch fish!â Photo: Tyler Reed - Each fish is measured â¦ Photo: Tyler Reed - â¦ and weighed. Rowan takes down any notes about the fish. Photo: Tyler Reed - All the fish are still pretty stunned at this point, so they lay flat on the measuring board and in the weight basket. Photo: Tyler Reed - As each fish goes back, it gets its bearing in the water and begins to flop around â¦ Photo: Tyler Reed - â¦ and swims away on its own. Photo: Tyler Reed - The Clear Lake hitch is one of the few native fish in Californiaâs largest freshwater body. Photo: Tyler Reed - A small bass goes back to the water. Photo: Tyler Reed - Now itâs time for the last one, the big carp, to go back. Photo: Tyler Reed - The near-20-pounder hits the water with a clunk then swims off. Photo: Tyler Reed - Now weâre done, and itâs a short ride back to the dock â¦ Photo: Tyler Reed - â¦ but these guysâ work isnât done. Theyâll be right back on the water as the sky darkens, out until the wee hours of the morning documenting fish. Thank the next fish biologist you see for keeping an eye on the habitat and fish populations so you have plenty of bass to catch â and so your grandchildren do, too.