Marine hydrokinetic energy sites have the potential to impact distributions, dynamics, and abundances of macroinvertebrates, fish, and marine mammals (i.e., nekton). Potential impacts include changes in aggregation, avoidance, and occurrences of strikes or impingements. Understanding potential impacts requires knowledge of species‐specific distributions over relevant spatial and temporal scales. Configurations and integration of technologies capable of providing images and data are not well‐established, and the application of monitoring technologies is complicated by extreme flows at marine hydrokinetic energy sites. An echosounder, multibeam sonar, and acoustic camera will be used to detect, categorize, and enumerate nekton at a proposed renewable energy site in northern Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound, WA. This is the site selected by Snohomish Public Utility District for the deployment of two OpenHydro turbines. Data from stationary instrument deployments will be compared to data from a mobile acoustic and midwater trawling survey to determine how well each technology captures spatiotemporal variation in nekon density distributions. Results of the design, deployment, retrieval, and analysis of data from these three instrument classes will be used to formulate recommendations for instrument choice, configuration, and the characterization and monitoring of pelagic nekton at any renewable energy site.