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Fisheries biologist Debbie King holds a Monroe Lake walleye.
The Indiana DNR is studying the movements of walleye at Monroe Lake using radio telemetry. A radio tag has been surgically implanted in walleye. The IDNR will be tracking the tagged fish throughout the entire lake. The end result will be a better understanding of walleye movement and habitat selection throughout the lake. This will in turn allow biologists to manage for a better walleye fishery and improved walleye fishing at Monroe Lake.
In April, DNR fisheries biologist Sandy Clark-Kolaks and team implanted electronic transmitters in 33 walleye. A yellow spaghetti tag was attached to the back of each of the radio tagged walleye to make identification easy. These spaghetti tags are serially numbered so that individual fish can be identified by sex and length. However, some of these tags may be lost as the year progresses. The radio transmitter antenna is approximately 14 inches long and provides a reliable mark of the tagged fish, although there is no serial number on the antennae.
Click on the video below to watch a walleye being radio tagged
Based on research from other states walleye are known to frequent standing timber in coves during the spring after spawning, and to be highly mobile early in the season. As midsummer approaches, walleye tend to move deeper and to settle into a reduced home range.
Every week, the walleye team races around the entire 11,000-acre lake near Bloomington tracking the fish. The work has already yielded some interesting information. An example is that multiple spawning sites have been located throughout the lake including some tributaries. Also, each series of sightings have been placed on a lake map to provide a progressive record of the walleye distribution. As the year progresses new walleye relocation maps will be posted to this website to provide insight to anglers on walleye locations and aid them in improving fishing success.
If you catch a tagged walleye, please write down the tag number, RELEASE THE FISH, and report the catch. You can call the South Region Fisheries Office at (812) 279-1215 and ask for Sandy or Bob. You will be asked to provide the date, location of capture and tag number. If the yellow spaghetti tag is no longer on the fish, the fish should still be released, and reporting the capture would still be appreciated. I can be reached by email (sclark-kolaks@dnr.IN.gov).
PLEASE BE AWARE:
Some of the fish have been found above the causeway, which is an idle zone. In order to find and locate all the fish, the tracking boat may be traveling at speeds greater than idle speed. As always caution and courtesy will be used by the boat operator.
I have received some questions about the study from anglers and am more than happy to answer them. Feel free to email with any questions: sclark-kolaks@dnr.IN.gov.
Q. There are a number of fish that have not changed location from the first time period to the last (#343 for instance), or from the second time period to the last. Are those fish alive?
A. The fish are making small movements but with the scale of the map these may not be visible. This is more evident with the map from the 24 hour tracking.
Q. The results only show about half of the number of fish tagged - is that because of
difficulty in locating the fish or because of time restraints in searching for all of them?
A. The tags we are using are different from the tags used in the wiper tracking study. In order to get tags with a longer battery life (about 2 years) we had to use tags that are not as powerful. This could be affecting our ability to hear the fish.
Sizes of the tagged fish.
|Implantation Date||Tag Number||Floy tag||Length (in)||Weight (lb)||Reproductive Status||Status|