Electrofishing Principles and Safety Certification Virtual Course

This class is the most widely attended electrofishing certification course in the United States. Electrofishing is an important tool for scientists to collect a range of fishery data such as species composition, population estimates, and growth rates. Without training, improper techniques and settings can bias results and be injurious to both humans and fish. Modern equipment and proper training can improve safety and data collection.

Course Objectives

Attendees will receive instruction on the following topics:

  • Minimizing/eliminating potential harm to fish.
  • Proper electrofishing settings to maximize capture efficiency.
  • Electrofishing across a spectrum of water conductivities.
  • Working safely as a team in a variety of environments.
  • Techniques and settings for a variety of target species in different life stages.
  • Operation and safety, including dangers to humans and fish.
  • Electrofishing techniques for lentic and lotic environments.

Upcoming Course Dates

No courses are currently scheduled. Check back soon for new dates.

Looking for alternate dates? Please inquire about availability at training@smith-root.com.

Course Format

The virtual online class will be taught in a single day with a morning lecture and an afternoon live field demonstration. Course attendees will be provided with a test to demonstrate aptitude and understanding. Those that pass the test will receive their certification.

Morning Lecture (8:00 AM to 12:30 PM Pacific)

Interactive lecture, with instruction focused on the following topics:

Electrofishing in Practice
Assessing the utility of electrofishing as a tool to meet your project objectives
Electrical Theory
What is electricity, how does it work in water, and how does water conductivity play a major role in my success?
Electrofishing Equipment
Evaluation of what gear and equipment is proper for a variety of sampling environments, species, and purposes
Effects on Fish
An in-depth look at past research and the potential effects of sampling on fish
Operation and Safety
Discussion about procedures and protocols to maximize safety for crew and fish
Applied Electrofishing Methods
An opportunity for attendees to create electrofishing scenarios for us to discuss and carry out in the field
Afternoon Field Demonstration (1:30 PM to 4:30 PM Pacific)

The afternoon will include a live demonstration of proper setup of backpack electrofishing equipment. The instructors will then demonstrate previously taught techniques and practices in a local stream with backpack electrofishing gear. Course instructors will also discuss and demonstrate the use of eDNA (environmental DNA) equipment in relation to electrofishing.


Course will be taught using the Zoom video conferencing application. Participants will need the ability to install the required Zoom software on their system.

Systems requirements for PC, Mac, and Linux. This is only an extract of the full System Requirements list provided by Zoom.

System Requirements
  • An internet connection – broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
  • Speakers and a microphone – built-in or USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth
  • A webcam or HD webcam - built-in or USB plug-in
Supported Operating Systems
  • macOS X with macOS 10.9 or later
  • Windows 10*
    Note: For devices running Windows 10, they must run Windows 10 Home, Pro, or Enterprise. S Mode is not supported.
  • Windows 8 or 8.1
  • Windows 7
  • Ubuntu 12.04 or higher
Supported Tablet and Mobile Devices
  • Surface PRO 2 or higher running Win 8.1 or higher
    Note: For tablets running Windows 10, they must run Windows 10 Home, Pro, or Enterprise. S Mode is not supported.
  • iOS and Android devices
  • Blackberry devices
Supported Browsers
  • Windows: IE 11+,  Edge 12+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Mac: Safari 7+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Linux: Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
Course Cost

This one day live course taught through the virtual portal costs $500 per student or is included at no cost with the purchase of any new Smith-Root backpack electrofisher.

Course Registration
Register Online
Course Instructor

Patrick Cooney, Certified Fisheries Scientist
Director of Electrofishing Science and Business Development

Have questions? Contact Patrick Cooney, Certified Fisheries Scientist.

Patrick Cooney is a Certified Fisheries Scientist with global fisheries research experience. Patrick’s research sites include the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, desert pools in Mexico, the largest lake in Guatemala, tidal pools in the Bahamas, the Everglades in Florida, warmwater streams in Puerto Rico, salmon aquaculture facilities in California, and coldwater streams in the mountains of North Carolina, all with diverse fish communities.

At Smith-Root, Patrick is responsible for understanding the research needs and scientific equipment demands of aquatic scientists. Relying on two decades of fisheries research and electrofishing experience, he provides expertise to fisheries scientists who utilize technology to complete their research objectives. Further, he certifies hundreds of scientists each year while instructing Electrofishing Training courses around the globe. The fundamentals of the class focus on proper deployment of electrofishing equipment to meet research objectives while ensuring personnel and aquatic organism safety. Patrick also develops and field tests Smith-Root products while leading the electrofishing product development team.

Patrick has a M.S. in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences from University of Florida and a B.S. in Biology and Marine Science from University of Miami. Patrick enjoys hiking in the Columbia River Gorge and writing for the website he co-founded (TheFisheriesBlog.com).