Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Trout Blitz

Trout Unlimited is sponsoring a wild/native trout citizen science effort to help map out healthy wild and native trout populations in the U.S. This effort relies upon citizen scientists to report data about wild and native trout populations.

What is citizen science? Well, it's where you become the scientist as a "data gatherer" (i.e. angler) and conduct science by catching fish and reporting your catch. This provides data for scientists on the location and species in a particular watershed.

As soon as I started reading this my "secret fishing hole" radar went off. Report where I caught fish? Wild fish? Umm, No. Well, maybe.

The interface on the TU iNaturalist site is pretty straight forward. I entered the information about my trip in a minute or so. The hardest part of recording the location, both technically and psychologically, is the GPS part. But I conquered both challenges pretty quick using Google Maps and a feature on the iNaturalist site.

First, you need the GPS coordinates. Google Maps can provide this. Find the approximate location on Google Maps, right click on the location where you caught the fish, and select "What's here?". The Latitude and Longitude appear on the upper left of the screen.

Second, you need to see the selection box below the iNaturalist map that says "Change Geoprivacy". Change that to "Obscured". That way only the scientists get the data on the "where" and the public gets something that's vague but not really all that helpful.

You can see the public version of my "Obscured" entry below. There are no map coordinates, only the reference to "Fairfield County".

This seems like a great way for us all to get involved in fisheries science. I encourage you to check out the website and start reporting your (obscured) catch of wild and native trout.


  1. It took me all of 9 seconds to identify that spot based on the gravel "fingerprint". Nice try, Zakur.