Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Hawaii
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Grabowski, T. J., and C. A. Jennings. 2009. Radio-tagged "guide fish": a novel approach for uncovering information about rare or cryptic fishes. Fisheries Management and Ecology 16:68-71


Research and management of rare or cryptic fishes often is hampered by an inability to consistently collect sufficient numbers of individuals. We present data from studies of robust redhorse Moxostoma robustum in the Ocmulgee River, Georgia as a case study illustrating the effectiveness of using radio-tagged, hatchery-reared individuals as “guide fish” to direct sampling efforts and locate spawning aggregations of resident fish. Catch per unit effort of untagged robust redhorse was higher when we focused electrofishing effort on areas occupied by radio-tagged individuals compared to areas not occupied by radio-tagged individuals or past survey efforts. Tracking of two radio-tagged robust redhorse led us to two previously unknown spawning aggregations of resident fish. The use of radio-tagged “guide fish” should be considered if data on rare or cryptic species are difficult to obtain.