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ODFW asks anglers to report tagged trophy trout caught at Phillips Reservoir

April 25, 2016

La Grande, Ore. -- This spring ODFW will “sweeten the pot” at Phillips Reservoir by stocking 4,000 trophy-sized rainbow trout, the product of a legislative budget note focused on boosting rural economies. The first release of trophy trout will occur in early May followed by another in early June. 

While ODFW expects the trophy rainbows to be very popular with anglers, they come at a premium price. “The larger the fish are grown in the hatchery, the greater the cost per fish”, said Tim Bailey, ODFW fish biologist. We want to make sure that the majority of the trophy trout stocked end up in the creel of our anglers.”

According to Bailey, about 400 of the trophy trout will be tagged so that the number caught can be estimated.  In order make the estimate, ODFW needs anglers to report all tagged trout that are caught.  The proportion of the number of tags returned to the total released is used to determine the total number caught.

This is where the pot gets even sweeter for the angler.  In order to encourage anglers to report catching tagged fish, about 40 of the trophy trout will have $50 reward tags.  If a fish with a reward tag is caught, the angler can receive a $50 Visa gift card.

For anglers, it’s a chance to participate in fishery management and, perhaps, come away with $50 for that help.

The reward tag system has proven to be a cost-effective method for determining the catch rates of specific groups of fish, more so than standard creel surveys.  “Using this method allows us to collect information that just was not possible with more traditional methods due to their expense”, said Bailey.

If you catch a tagged fish:

  • Tagged fish can be harvested or released.  If the fish is released, cut the tag off at the base rather than try to rip out the tag.
  • Anglers can report non-reward tags in person, by mail, by phone, or on the ODFW web site.
  • Reward tags must be returned to ODFW East Region office in La Grande either in person or by mail.
  • Look for ODFW “Tag Team” posters at boat ramps or popular fishing locations for further project and contact information.

This evaluation project is funded through a grant from the ODFW Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program.




Tim Bailey (541) 962-1829
Rick Swart (971) 673-6038

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