500 Striped Bass Tagged At Lake Lanier

GON Staff | April 2, 2005

A total of 500 striped bass in Lake Lanier have received an orange tag affixed by WRD Fisheries biologists. The tags are worth $5 if you return them to WRD.

Beginning in mid February, WRD Fisheries Biologist Reggie Weaver and other Fisheries personnel began catching striped bass with electro-fishing gear for a year-long tagging study. The effort was completed on Monday afternoon, March 21.

“We needed 50 fish to finish up, and we got 50,”  said Reggie. “We tagged a lot of 3- to 5-lb. fish today and had one that weighed 35 pounds,”

WRD Director Dan Forster with a pair of tagged Lake Lanier striped bass that received tags.

The last of the fish were tagged in the Gainesville Marina area and Ada and Sardis creeks, but tagged fish are distributed throughout the lake.

“That 51 to 52 degrees is the magic temperature to get them up on the points in shallow water where our equipment can reach them,” said Reggie. “The fish weren’t there in the morning, but they moved onto the points in the afternoon.”

Overall, the 500 tagged fish range in size from 16 inches to a 44-inch fish estimated to weigh 40 pounds. The 40-pounder was caught near Bald Ridge Marina. On the best day, two boats were able to tag 90 fish. On one of the worst days, two boats tagged only three fish.

An orange, plastic tag was inserted into the belly of each fish.

“Through returns of tags we will be able to estimate the mortality rate of the various age-classes of fish,” he said.

Returns will also quantify angler impact on the fish population.

The tag has a number on one side and the WRD address on the other.

“If an angler wants to release the fish, they can clip the tag off,” said Reggie. “Don’t try to pull it out. Mail the tag to us with the date they caught the fish, whether they harvested the fish, and a general location of where the fish was caught.”

A $5 reward will be paid through February 2006 for all returned tags.

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