New technology to help track catfish populations

New technology to help track catfish populations

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is using new technology to learn more about the Minnesota River’s flathead catfish population.

Tony Sindt and his crew have spent the last few summers using hoop nets to gather channel and flathead catfish in the Minnesota River. The project is aimed at helping wildlife officials better understand the growth and movement of the species.

“We’re just learning more about the ecology and behavior of these fish,” Fisheries Biologist Tony Sindt said. “So we can learn more about how long does it take these fish to get to trophy size.”

For the flathead catfish, the team also checks to see if the fish have a passive integrated transponder, or P.I.T. tag. The tag allows crews to see where that fish had last been captured and how much it has grown since then.

Catfish without P.I.T. tags will have one implanted beneath the skin.

The data provided from these tags will help the Minnesota DNR set fishing regulations and seasons. It can also help anglers understand where the most catfish activity is happening throughout the year.

COVID-19 has halted this summer’s fish tagging project, but Sindt and his team are planning to restart the process next summer.

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