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Q & A
Tagged Trout
Question
I was fishing a local stream today and caught a trout with a numbered tag on it. Who tags the trout and why is it done?
Answer
Just about every spring the Commission receives several inquiries from anglers having caught a tagged trout. In most cases, these are NOT the result of any Commission study or program. Clubs, commercial establishments and even individuals tag trout for a variety of reasons. Most involved hatchery trout as part of a contest or promotional activity. Some are part of a short term special event where individuals register for possible prizes from catching tagged fish. And, these are often limited to a particular body of water and even a relatively short piece of stream at that. Others may be more regionalized. In Spring 2003, a major beverage producer is stocking tagged fish (not necessarily trout) as part of a contest or promotion. Tagged fish were stocked in numerous waters.  Usually, those events involving prizes have sufficient information on the tag so that anglers can make contact. But, in a few cases, tags have little if any info.

Tagging is sometimes undertaken by a sportsman's club involved in the Commission's Cooperative Nursery Program. This program centers on the Commission providing fish, usually fingerling trout, to organizations for rearing in their facilities and then stocked for fishing. The facilities and related activities have to be approved by the Commission. Clubs may occasionally stock tagged trout as part of the process of evaluating the extent of their stocking, movement, and so forth. The tags used are metal rings placed around the lower or upper jaw of the trout before stocking. And, they will have info on the tag for contacting the Commission. These tags also will have the initials "CNP" on them. If you catch a cooperative nursery program trout with a tag on it, please follow the instructions on the tag for reporting it.

Tagging is legal providing the trout are from a commercial hatchery and not those taken from the wild and then tagged. Just about the only time we permit fish from the wild to be tagged if such is part of a scientific study undertaken by researchers authorized to do so by special permits from the Commission. I have heard of individual anglers catching fish and them tagging them as a personal research effort. This activity is not legal under Commission regulations.

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