Relying on fin erosion to identify hatchery-reared brown trout in a Tennessee river

North American Journal of Fisheries Management
By:  and 



Hatchery-induced fin erosion can be used to identify recently stocked catchable-size brown trout Salmo trutta during annual surveys to qualitatively estimate contributions to a fishery. However, little is known about the longevity of this mark and its effectiveness as a short-term (≤ 1 year) mass-marking technique. We evaluated hatchery-induced pectoral fin erosion as a mass-marking technique for short-term stocking evaluations by stocking microtagged brown trout in a tailwater and repeatedly sampling those fish to observe and measure their pectoral fins. At Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery, 99.1% (228 of 230) of microtagged brown trout in outdoor concrete raceways had eroded pectoral fins 1 d prior to stocking. Between 34 and 68 microtagged and 26-35 wild brown trout were collected during eight subsequent electrofishing samples. In a blind test based on visual examination of pectoral fins at up to 322 d poststocking, one observer correctly identified 91.7% to 100.0% (mean of 96.9%) of microtagged brown trout prior to checking for microtags. In the laboratory, pectoral fin length and width measurements were recorded to statistically compare the fin measurements of wild and microtagged hatchery brown trout. With only one exception, all pectoral fin measurements on each date averaged significantly larger for wild trout than for microtagged brown trout. Based on the number of pectoral fin measurements falling below 95% prediction intervals, 93.7% (148 of 158) of microtagged trout were correctly identified as hatchery fish based on regression models up to 160 d poststocking. Only 72.2% (70 of 97) of microtagged trout were identified correctly after 160 d based on pectoral fin measurements and the regression models. We concluded that visual examination of pectoral fin erosion was a very effective way to identify stocked brown trout for up to 322 d poststocking.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Relying on fin erosion to identify hatchery-reared brown trout in a Tennessee river
Series title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
DOI 10.1080/02755947.2012.692350
Volume 32
Issue 5
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher American Fisheries Society
Publisher location Lawrence, KS
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 7 p.
First page 922
Last page 928
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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