Smith-Root is Electrofishing

Patrick Cooney's avatar
Patrick Cooney
Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Smith-Root’s electrofishing boats continue to transform fisheries science.

Our first boat was built in 1979 for the Nevada Fish and Game Department in Reno, Nevada. That 16 foot boat with a 55 horsepower Johnson motor transformed the profession of freshwater fisheries science. Fast forward to today, 36 years later, and Smith-Root continues to be the world’s largest and most dependable manufacturer of electrofishing boats. The experienced technicians, biologists, and engineers at Smith-Root continuously design and implement industry leading improvements for electrofishing boat function and safety. As diverse as your research objectives and scientific applications are, we have an industry leading boat designed just for you.

Extra Heavy Duty Series – This is the flagship of our electrofishing fleet designed to last a career and provide a work platform for all aquatic research needs. The EH boats are built from the ground up at Smith-Root’s boat shop where we shape heavy duty aluminum in a V-hull with enough flotation to support thousands of pounds of scientific equipment and staff. These boats are ideal when navigating large lakes, rivers, and estuaries. Massive storage compartments, livewells, and large and stable work platforms make the EH Series a boat that is a pleasure to use on long field days.

Heavy Duty Series –The most widely used electrofishing boat in the world, our H series is a versatile and stable work platform that lends itself to a variety of purposes besides electrofishing including water sampling, mapping and surveying. Smith-Root’s flat bottom H boats are ideal for full day sampling trips on lakes and rivers with plenty of fuel and storage capacity to get the job done right.

Light Duty Series – Our light duty series is a real electrofishing hero in small lakes, ponds, and rivers where getting into tight spaces is a must. These boats are an economical alternative for biologists who work in small rivers and lakes. Despite its incredible maneuverability, the light duty series still includes all the features you expect in a Smith-Root boat: excellent craftsmanship, quality components, and world leading electrofishing equipment.

Cataraft – The Cataraft is an innovative design using two inflatable pontoons. This allows the vessel to operate in fast running water like the tailraces of dams or fast moving rivers. It’s also outfitted with top of the line Smith-Root equipment for safety and ease of use.

E-Cat – For streams and rivers that are too large for a backpack but too shallow or remote for a larger boat, the E-Cat is your boat of choice. Comfortably aligned oar-locks provide biologist powered propulsion. Conveniently, this small innovative boat can be disassembled, carried to remote locations, and easily reassembled by the stream or pond. Within its lightweight frame, it features an industry leading Smith-Root electrofisher and booms. Adding to its diverse capabilities, it can even be operated using hand-held electrode poles similar to a backpack. Despite the size, the E-Cat has all of the electrofishing safety features and reliability of larger boats with tremendous flexibility.

Tote Barge – If you work in streams that are wadeable but still too large for backpack electrofishers, the tote barge is your solution. This small barge can be easily maneuvered through a stream by wading biologists, yet includes a fully adjustable electrofisher, up to three anode poles, and livewell for fish transport.

Here at Smith-Root, we are constantly improving our boat designs. With a staff that includes craftsmen, engineers, and biologists, we are positioned to make improvements that make our boats safer, more comfortable, and better science platforms. We drive innovations where others struggle to even copy and keep up.

Our boats have always been designed for safety, durability, and helping researchers get the job done right. Our boats are heavy-duty, yet offer incredible buoyancy necessary to support your field crews and supplies. We aim to create the confidence needed for you to get the job done with a boat designed to last your career. In true testament, Smith-Root boats from 25 years ago are still in operation today. Contact us today to learn why Smith-Root electrofishers are an incredible research tool for any agency or private consultant business.

For more information on Smith-Root boats, visit or call us at (360) 573-0202.