Improving habitat for out-migrating juvenile salmon is often a goal of nearshore restoration efforts. Direct observation of fish use of a site is desirable to assess function of the site. Surface snorkel surveys are recommended as an observational method that generates data without handling fish. Observations are focused on juvenile salmon abundance, feeding behaviors, and records of other nearshore fishes such as post-larval forage fishes that utilize shallow waters as a nursery habitat.
Netting generates precise data on measurements such as fish species, number, lengths, and diet contents, but is more difficult due to logistical constraints of permitting, and boat, personnel, and training needs. Resources for beach seining are listed to encourage collaboration with experts that may already be sampling in your vicinity.
Download the full snorkeling protocol, a sample field datasheet, and a data entry template in the attachments below. Additional resources for methods and fish identification are in the underwater video page. Juvenile salmon identification can be difficult, see this report as a start.