Anglers fishing in the Saginaw Bay area could receive $100 for reporting a tagged walleye to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
About 20 percent of the tagged fish include the reward. Anglers are able to keep or release the fish, but a photo clearly showing the tag must be provided.
“This information is essential to measuring the health of the population and is critical data we use to plan future management direction needed to protect and enhance this important fishery,” said Dave Fielder, a research biologist out of the DNR’s Alpena Fisheries Research Station.
Each tag is stamped with an identification number and a post office box address. Anglers who catch a tagged walleye can report their catch by mail using the address on the tag, by calling the DNR Bay City Customer Service Center at 989-684-9141, or online by visiting Michigan.gov/taggedfish.
When reporting tags by phone or mail, anglers are asked to provide their contact information as well as the tag identification number, the date the walleye was caught, the catch location, the fish’s length, the fish’s weight (if known), and whether or not the fish was harvested, released with the tag attached or released with the tag removed.
Anglers will receive a letter detailing the history of the fish they caught and reported.
Fish tagging occurs each spring on the Tittabawassee River and other Saginaw Bay tributaries during the walleye spawning run. The fish are collected with electro-fishing boats that temporally stun them to allow fisheries biologists and technicians to collect vital statistics, tag the fish and release them back into the river after the fish have recovered.
After spawning, the fish 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 as far north as the Straits of Mackinac to Lake Erie in the south.