Every spring, the Tennessee Valley Authority takes time to measure and check our fish to monitor their health.
They use a quick shock called "electro-fishing" and shortly after the shock, large bass are in boats. TVA scoops up a fish a minute, all for research.
John Justice is a TVA fisheries biologist. He explained, "The amount of fish we have in the valley have really high condition factors and relative weight numbers is pretty amazing for these latitudes. Just the growth rate is really interesting."
Justice spends his spring with other biologists checking up on sport fish in our area's nine reservoirs. Thursday, biologists were at Fort Loudoun.
For every fish TVA collects, biologists measure and weigh them, then release them. Fish are not harmed at all by the shocking. It only stuns fish for a few seconds up to two minutes.
TVA has done this since 1995. Every year, each reservoir is checked at the same three spots. It's an insight in to the health of the fish and our ecosystem. Some fish have diseases and others have been caught before and released.
All of this is beneficial to the average fishermen, like Jeff Phillips.
"I'd like to learn what the fish population is in this local area on Fort Loudoun. We fish in local tournaments over here and it just blew my mind at Watts Bar. It was unreal."
It helps anglers know the best spots for the biggest fish. Jeff brought his son to see the bass up close.
"I love fishing and just seeing the size that there is around here is just crazy," said Oliver Springs Freshman, Jeffrey Phillips.
So, this testing goes a lot further than numbers on a piece of paper. It can translate right in to a great catch.
You can find out the results from today's collection at TVA's website and take a look at other year's results.