AQUATIC RESOURCE SPECIALISTS biologists, Carl Page and Bradford Norman, conducted 480 twenty-five meters square (25 m sq.)
fisheries sampling sets using a fully-original independent design for an expandable & collapsable 3 millimeter nylon
mesh Block Net and a finer-mesh Beach Seine within the Block Net to sample fish down to larval -sized Tidewater goby and their smaller invertebrate prey (mainly Corophium, Chironomids and Amphipods).
These sampling sets were conducted at an average of 40 sites per month from September 1998 through August 1999
throughout the Lake Earl lagoon system, depending on variable access, due to dynamic lake-level management practices.
Tidewater Goby (Eucyclogobius newberryi Girard 1852)
was found to be the co-dominant fish species, in terms of numbers, throughout the year, along with the Common Threespine Stickelback (Gasterosteus
aculeatus), within the Earl-Tolowa Lagoon System, over the study period.
Green Sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris
Ayres, 1854) was the least abundant fish seen in the lagoon system with
a single sighting per year ( N=2 ; 1 each in 1997-1999, Bradford Norman, personal
Smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieui) were rarely in the
sampling sets (N=2) but were confirmed for the first time in the lagoon system and reproduction was evident by the young age
of the fish collected.
Coastal cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii) was
also not well-represented in the Lake Earl Block Net sampling, probably due to their quick response to any slight water disturbance
while setting the Block Net into sampling position. It should be stated here that every effort was made to set the net
without noise or disturbance. WE EASED our Block Net into position, utilizing float tubes, silence, quick-pull
lines, etc., to set the Block Net into position for each Fish Set.
Adaptive Management and Methodological Techniques were updated each month. We continuously
utilized new knowledge throughout the study period and modified our Block Net Design 3 times over the study period.
Only 3 Coastal Cutthroat Trout occurred in the 480 sampling sets.
After Artifical Breaching Events, an influx of marine fish species were observed to enter the lagoon system: Golden shiner perch (Cymatogaster aggregata), Pacific herring (Clupea harengus
pacificus), and Starry flounder (Platichthys stellatus).
Other fish species observed in the sampling include: Pacific staghorn sculpin
(Leptocottus armatus), and the prickly sculpin (Cottus aspera). The
Mosquito fish (Gambusia affinis), along with juvenile cutthroat
trout, were detected near the Buzzuni Ramp area in 1997 by the Chamberlain Study (Humboldt State
University Master's Thesis). Bradford Norman was involved in that field work in 1996 &
1997 as well.
The Crescent Gunnel (Pholis ornata) was not detected in the system until May 2003 when
Bradford Norman trapped a specimen in Lake Tolowa using a baited minnow trap. This effort
was while he was with the Arcata Field Office, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, during their Summer 2003 Tidewater
Goby distributional surveys along the North Coast of California and extreme southern Oregon.
Crescent Gunnell was re-trapped in May 2006 in Tolowa by Page & Norman along the western shore in clam baited minnow
trap, as before. The first record of juvenile Dungeness Crab in Lake Earl was documented 25 May 2006 in an unbaited