Ami Staples doesn’t need a fishing report to know when the fish are biting.
“Here in Little Washington, we have seen over the past two weeks the trout stacked up,” the marine fisheries biologist said Nov. 27. “And the past two weeks I’ve had over 50 tag returns in my inbox, so that’s how I know the fishing is good.”
The emails are reports from recreational or commercial fishermen through the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries tagging program: catch a fish implanted with a tag, snip off the strand of yellow or red plastic, record the number and details about the fish, then call, mail or report online.
For the effort, Staples, who coordinates returns and rewards, will send a reward such as a hat or $5 for a yellow tag. Fishermen who catch a fish with a red tag can call 800-682-2632 for instructions on mailing the tag to receive $100. Fishermen also receive information about the fish’s origin, and all are entered in an annual drawing.
Some fish carry two tags, each implanted differently to determine the best tagging methods, Staples said.
The information that fishermen provide – species, weight, length, location, gear used, fate of the fish – will be useful for biologists managing fisheries.
N.C. biologists, along with university programs and cooperating fishing guides and fishermen, have tagged fish for decades. For the past three years, tagging for striped bass, red drum, cobia, southern flounder and spotted seatrout has been consolidated under a grant of coastal recreational fishing license funds, Staples said. As the program begins a second three-year grant, the data gained from the first three years is being analyzed to help with stock assessments.
An app is being developed to make reporting from the water even easier.
And, Staples said, “we don’t want to change angler behavior. If you were planning to keep that fish and it’s within regulations, keep that fish.”
Learn more about reporting at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/fish-tagging-program-r.
Trail race: Both off-road races are sold out, but volunteers are welcome for the Race Across Durham Trail Marathon and 10-Miler on Dec. 3 in Durham County.
With much of the courses following the Eno River and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, the races are part of the Bull City Running Co.’s Tough As Trails Race Series. The event benefits the LIFE (Living Independently & Finding Empowerment) Skills Foundation to assist youth transitioning to adulthood.
To volunteer for the races, go to www.raceacrossdurham.com/volunteer.
Festivals: The 30th Core Sound Decoy Festival is Dec. 2-3 at Harkers Island Elementary School, and Core Sound Waterfowl Weekend is Dec. 1-3 at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum on Harkers Island in Carteret County. Find schedules and auctions at www.decoyguild.com or www.coresound.com.
Meeting: The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will meet at 9 a.m. Dec. 7 at its headquarters at 1751 Varsity Drive on N.C. State’s Centennial Campus. Live audio will be available at www.ncwildlife.org under Public Notices.
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