The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking anglers to report tagged walleyes they catch.
Three-thousand walleye were recently jaw tagged in some of the Saginaw Bay tributary rivers.
Anglers should report when they caught a tagged walleye, the catch location, the fish’s length and weight if known and tag identification number.
Anglers will receive a letter detailing the history of a fish they reported.
About 20 percent of the tags include a $100 reward for reporting it. The tags are stamped with a P.O. box address. The fish can also be reported at michigandnr.com/taggedfish.
To be eligible for the reward, anglers must take a photo of the tag. Fish with tags can be kept or released.
If anglers are not interested in the reward, they should leave the tag on the fish and release it.
This year, the DNR is testing how well anglers notice and report tags by tagging some fish with brightly colored disk tags.
According to the DNR, jaw tagging is part of a long-term research project to monitor survival and harvest rates and learn about walleye movement.
“This information is essential to measuring the health of the population and is critical data that is directly used in planning the future management direction needed to protect and enhance this important fishery,” said David Fielder, research biologist out of the DNR’s Alpena Fisheries Research Station.
Tagging occurs each spring on the Tittabawassee River and other Saginaw Bay tributaries during the walleye spawning run.
To catch the fish, they are temporally stunned with electrofishing boats. Vital statistics are collected, and the fish are tagged and released when they recover.
According to the DNR, after spawning, walleyes migrate back into Saginaw Bay and a large number migrate out of the bay into Lake Huron. The fish that migrate out of the bay have been found ranging to the Straits of Mackinac to the north and Lake Erie to the south.