Tandem-Set Fyke Nets for Sampling Benthic Fishes in Lakes

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We evaluated the effectiveness of two types of tandem-set fyke nets (round and D-shaped) for sampling fish in five lakes and compared fyke-net catches with contemporaneous gill-net catches. Fyke nets captured more benthic and cover-oriented species than gill nets, whereas gill nets captured more pelagic species. Seasonal variation in species composition and catch per unit effort (CPUE) was observed with fyke nets as well as gill nets. When sampling with fyke nets was limited to one season, large sample sizes were needed to detect changes in CPUE. Efficiency, ease of use, and low mortality of captured fish make tandem-set fyke nets a viable alternative to gill nets for assessing changes in community structure of benthic fishes in individual lakes. However, the large sampling effort required to detect changes in CPUE (unless target species are very abundant) limits the utility of fyke nets for monitoring the relative abundance of benthic species over time.