Fish make the best surveyors. So take advantage of their hard work scouring the lake from bottom to top to figure out what’s going on in the lake!

Below are some pictures of commonly found food items. Following the pictures are instructions for examining stomach contents by “fluidizing.”

Trout stomach and contents spread out in white dish.Before full fluidization, seeing the stomach contents can be difficult. Photo credit: Don Wicklund


Small freshwater shrimp are easily observed floating in white dishAfter being fluidized, these scuds, a common name for a freshwater shrimp of the Genus Gammarus, a crustacean, are plainly visible. Scuds give fish flesh a red color. Photo credit: Jonathan Leathers


Trout stomach split open and shown stuffed with scudsA stomach bulging with groceries. Photo credit: Jonathan Leathers


Dragonfly numph shown on white background alongside a pencil with eraser. The nymph is about the same length as the eraser and metal part of the pencil.A tasty dragonfly nymph. Dragonflys are typically found in warmer waters, with emergent vegetation that the aquatic insects can crawl up onto to emerge as winged adults. Photo credit: Don Wicklund

Instructions for examining stomach contents:

  1. Open the stomach, put contents into a white-bottomed vessel: plastic tub, paper plate, Tupperware, what have you.
  2. Add a little water, 1/4 to 1-inch, and “fluidize” the contents. The contents open up like a book.
  3. If you can identify the stomach contents, please include that info in the stomach contents section of your Survey Report.
  4. If stumped, send a close-up picture to Rich O’Connell to ID, or bring a sample to a meeting. Please forward the photos to Rich: Send Rich an email. Please include relevant info, such as:
    • Lake name (which won’t be published but is helpful)
    • General location (Eastern Washington, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, etc.)
    • Elevation
    • Date
    • What you were fishing with
    • Weather
    • Any other pertinent conditions.

    But mostly take your digital camera and send some good close-up photos for identification.

  5. Rich O’Connell will respond and you can then update your Survey Report.