Catch of the Day

May 9, 2007

Reported By: Natalie Grise

A big day on Big Lake usually means reeling in some really big fish. But with a first-of-its-kind study beginning on Calcasieu Lake, the Speckled Trout aren't becoming trophies, they're being caught to provide information.

Researchers take basic measurements, like length, weight, and giving them conventional tags before a brief surgery implants them with acoustic transmitters, which will let researchers know at what depths the fish swim, the temperatures they prefer, and the type of habitats they like.

"We're looking at Calcasieu Lake, at seasonal migrations, how fish use marsh habitats, and oyster reefs, do they move in shore, off shore, and moving in and out of the system, how do they spawn, where are they over winter, things like that," explains LSU graduate student Jody Callihan.

The information goes to receivers floating throughout the lake, and it will play a part in setting seasons and establishing catch limits.

"Calcasieu Lake draws people from all over the nation because of the fishing here. It's a rich heritage in Louisiana, we want to learn about the species so we can make effective management choices to ensure the sustainability of the resource," Callihan says.

And all of that means the Speckled Trout can stay the catch of the day.

If you catch a Speckled Trout tagged by LSU, call the researchers at the phone number on the tag with information about the catch conditions, then release the fish, and you will receive a small reward.