Anglers may catch a fish with a tag sticking out of it. In order to estimate tag loss, fish frequently get double tagged so don’t be surprised if you catch a fish that has two tags in it.
Most recently, as part of our walleye population estimation effort in 2018, nearly 20,000 walleye were given two yellow tags. In addition to walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike and muskellunge have all been tagged on Mille Lacs Lake in the past.
You may find a fish with an orange tag. If you do, these are reward tags that must be removed from the fish and mailed back to us to get the reward.
Green-tagged fish also can be found on Mille Lacs. These are fish that biologists from the 1837 bands have tagged. If you report the information from these fish to us, we will forward it for their research.
- If you catch a tagged fish
Record the following:
- Tag number.
- Species. A common mistake is to report sauger caught in Mille Lacs when reporting tag returns. During our sampling efforts, we have never observed sauger in Mille Lacs.
- Fish length.
- Date the fish was caught.
- Area of the lake where you caught the fish. On your certificate, we provide information on fish movement so be sure to zoom into the map of Mille Lacs to get a better idea of where the fish has moved.
- Whether it was released (leave tag attached) or kept.
- How do I report a tagged fish?
- Please report your tag online. This is the most efficient and accurate way for us to receive your information.
- Please report each tagged fish separately in order to get a certificate for each fish.
- What happens after I report my tagged fish?
You will receive a certificate that contains information about the fish you caught sent to you via e-mail. Please be patient as there often are many fish caught.
- What do we do with the information you provide?
Initially, most fish are tagged to conduct population estimates for walleye and other fish. Once the population estimate is complete, there are still tagged fish out in the lake which offer a great opportunity to track movements and monitor growth. Using the tag numbers, we can look in our database for information that was collected when the fish was first tagged, such as where the fish was tagged and how big it was. By supplying accurate fish tag return information, you are helping us build our knowledge about the fishery.