Radio Tagged Trout-Tuning into trout movement after stocking
To better understand the fate of our stocked trout, the Department has embarked on a multi-year trout stocking study. Through angler surveys, we can estimate catch rates (the number of fish anglers catch and keep); however, we cannot answer important questions such as: How long do trout live after being stocked? Do stocked trout move to a different area of the stream after being stocked? If they do move, do they move upstream or downstream?
To answer these questions we use radio telemetry. We surgically implant a small radio transmitter with a unique frequency into our “catchable”-sized trout. Check out the video above to see one of our surgeries. The whole process takes about a minute and a half. When these fish are stocked we use a special receiver to locate each trout. The signal can be transmitted about one kilometer. With this equipment, Department personnel can locate exactly where each tagged fish is and determine how far the fish has moved, if and when the fish died, or if it was caught and removed from the stream.
But we need your help. If you are fishing along the White Mountain streams keep a lookout for our radio-tagged fish. If you are lucky enough to catch a trout with these tags, treat it like you would any other fish. You may keep and eat the fish, just be sure to call 623-236-7538 to report the catch, and please return the radio tag to any AZGFD office or employee.