Carrying the seine net Fish Seining Group Seine
Menu Directions Call Us

Fish Monitoring Project

There are currently two different fish monitoring programs at Otter Point Creek: larval yellow perch and fish seining. (The larval fish project ran from Spring 2005 to Spring 2008.) The yellow perch program occurs in the spring, while fish seining occurs in the summer. Significant urbanization has been observed over the last several decades as fish populations have been declining, possibly due to the changes in spawning habitats. All programs hope to monitor the anadromous fish populations and their spawning habitats in the Bush River.

Yellow PerchYellow Perch: Yellow perch are very important in our area for both recreational and commercial fishing. The goal of the yellow perch study is to determine the presence and time frame of larval yellow perch in the Bush River. Sampling is done via a plankton tow on the river at 10 different locations. The tow is pulled for two minutes and the sample is poured into a tray for identification. Water quality data is also recorded at each location.

Sein NetSeining: The goal of the Otter Point Creek fish seining program is to assess the overall health of the fish community and habitat quality by collecting baseline data on tidal fish species. Data is also used to track trends in populations, species composition, and age and abundance of commercially important species. Volunteers sample four tidal sites during each sampling date. A 100-foot beach seine and the quarter sweep method are used to collect fish. Once the seine is landed, fish are counted, sorted and measured. Three of the sites are also sampled by boat using a trawling net. The maximum and minimum lengths and age of commercially important fish species are recorded. Records are also kept on fish with visible lesions or anomalies. Larval Net

Click here for Tips for Identifying Common Fish Species in the Bush River. This information was adapted from Murdy and Birdsong, Fishes of the Chesapeake Bay.

Dichotomous Key Example

Fish Anatomy

Larval Fish: The goal of the larval fish project was to assess the percent change in the presence of migratory fish eggs and larvae. Volunteers sampled 15 sites on the Bush River collecting water quality data and a water sample that will later be sorted and identified. Presence of migratory fish eggs and larvae are recorded and evaluated to determine the range of spawning and larval habitat in the Bush River.


12/2009 - See the latest numbers for our fish seining data below! Keep an eye out for information in the Spring of next year for helping out with our fish programs.

Recent Findings:

Yellow Perch - Based on our data from the last four years, yellow perch larvae are found in the Bush River late March through mid-May. Juveniles are then found in our seine and trawl nets during the July through September juvenile fish sampling.

Seining - Below are graphs of 10 species of fish found in Otter Point Creek and the Bush River. These averages are from the total number of fish collected at each of four sites from 2004 to 2009. You can see some fish populations seem to be declining (first graph), while other populations are increasing (second graph). *Note that each graph has a difference scale, so while it may look like the populations in the first graph are declining a lot, we only caught 5-10 less fish. Also, many factors such as weather, water temperature, and tide can affect the number of fish caught during each sampling. This is why we look at long term trends instead of just comparing year to year.

Fish Seining Data

Fish Seining Data2




Monday thru Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.



eco friendly parties click here


OPCA is a non-profit organization
which supports all the great opportunities and programs at the Estuary Center. Find out more click here.

Donate Now
Anita C. Leight Estuary Center / 700 Otter Point Road, Abingdon MD 21009 / 410-612-1688