Salmon Camera on a Stick

In 2019, Friends of Auburn Ravine developed a new system for Salmon Surveys that will help us to count and document juvenile salmon as they move downstream each year in the March to May timeframe

The system uses a GoPro video camera attached to the far end of an extendable painter’s pole.  A special wire carries the GoPro’s WiFi signal along the pole to the other end where an Android tablet allows the user to see live full-motion video from the GoPro.  The tablet also allows the user to send commands to the GoPro.  For example, recording can be turned on and off as needed to conserve battery power and memory space.

On the video below, see how this worked during some testing we did in the winter of 2020.  It was too early in the year for us to see baby salmon, but we did get some good views of small Pike Minnow.

Project Update: June 16, 2021

Our field testing with the final prototype our “Salmon Cam on a Stick” is well underway.  We have about 50 hours of in-stream time completed so far, and hope to have about 100 hours in another week.  Thanks to the generous support of our friends at the Rose Foundation, we were able to develop a unique underwater device that allows a camera operator to see, in real time, what is happening under the water.  Friends of Auburn Ravine (FAR) will deploy several of the devices in the coming months, enabling our volunteers to document the underwater ecology of the stream.

Instead of the old method of turning on a GoPro camera and sticking it in the water without being able to see what is being recorded, FAR’s “Salmon Cam on a Stick” allows the operator to visually explore the underwater environment, seeking out subjects of interest, and turning the recorder on and off remotely.  It results in better image capture in much less time than the conventional technique.  It even has lights for those dark undercut banks.

Evan Burnett, a wildlife management student at Humboldt State University, is conducting field tests of the device this summer along Auburn Ravine during his internship with FAR.  As the video shows, he has already captured excellent images.  He found the fine specimen of a rainbow trout (O. mykiss) that you will see in the video about 5 miles upstream from Lincoln in Auburn Ravine a few days ago.

We intend to use this system when we do surveys of juvenile salmonids in Auburn Ravine next winter and spring. 

One of our Board members, Steve Hubbard, developed the system, and produced this 1-minute video: