Telemetry Tags

transmitter in hand

Obtaining information about the behavior of animals in their natural environment is difficult. Telemetry tags allow researchers to identify the location of a fish by detection of a signal from a transmitter that has been implanted in the fish. Two types of signals / transmitters are typically utilized by fisheries researchers; radio and sonic (acoustic). Radio transmitters are utilized to monitor fish locations and habitat use in shallow, fresh-water environments. In situations where radio telemetry is not practical or appropriate (e.g., in deep or highly conductive water), researchers can use acoustic transmitters and receivers to track fish.

In general, telemetry tags will only be discovered if a fish is cleaned (filleted, gutted) for human consumption. Most fish carrying telemetry tags will also carry information (address, phone number, email) concerning tag reporting, either on the telemetry tag or on an associated tag (e.g., anchor tag, jaw tag). Telemetry tags are costly, but can be re-used by fisheries managers if returned.

If you find a telemetry tag, refer to the information on the tag (or associated external tag) for further instructions. If you have problems reading the tag, please contact the Lake St. Clair Fisheries Research Station at 586-465-4771.

Additional Information on Sonic Tags:

  • Evaluation of Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fluvescens) Populations in the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair
    Sixteen adult lake sturgeon were tagged with sonic tags in the St. Clair river system and have been found to spend parts of the summer and fall months in Lake St. Clair.
  • Beaver Island Archipelago Tagging Project
    Central Michigan University (CMU) is conducting a smallmouth bass study in and around Beaver Island. The study is designed to determine population estimates and movement patterns. Tagged smallmouth bass may have one or more of the following: jaw, anchor, or sonic tags.