Arizona Game and Fish implants radio transmitters in trout as part of study

PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The Arizona Game and Fish Department conducted a four-year study and the results might surprise you.

"We tale a scalpel, make a little incision in the belly of the fish, we actually put the tag in, then we use sutures or surgical staples and close that back up," Zach Beard said.

Beard, a sport fish research biologist with Arizona Game and Fish, says once the fish heal, they're released, and those little tags have helped the department track the fish since the study started in the beginning of 2013.

"We tagged 492 total trout," he said. "I believe it was half rainbow, half Apache trout."

During the study, researchers also spent 490 days interviewing anglers and conducted nearly 5,000 interviews total.

"We're always looking to gather more data to find out the best practices to manage our fisheries, so this is an example of that," Nick Walter said.

Walter, a spokesperson for the department, says streams are restocked every one-to-two weeks.

"The study actually shows that 60 percent of these trout are actually gone within one week of that stocking schedule of every one-to-two weeks... makes a lot of sense," he said.

Most of those fish are caught by anglers and that's what the department says they're stocked for. The rest are eaten by wildlife and researchers say the fish don't go far.

"Generally, within three days of being stocked they stay in teh same area," Walter said.

It's a good tip, says Beard, for the anglers who now know they can stay close to a drop-off site to catch the trout.

"Some of the results are actually surprising," he said. "I think trout are living longer than we actually thought."

The rest of the results will be posted on the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Facebook page.