Fish Telemetry Project Underway at Tuttle Creek and Milford Reservoirs

EMPORIA – The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks is partnering with Kansas State University on a long-term telemetry study to examine movement patterns and space use of Kansas’ most recreationally valuable fish. Data collected during this study will give Fisheries biologists a better understanding of fish movement within reservoirs and fish passage downstream through reservoir dams.

Biologists will be implanting 15 acoustic transmitters in the following species at Tuttle Creek and Milford reservoirs:

  • Blue catfish
  • Channel catfish
  • Walleye
  • Saugeye

These transmitters will allow biologists to monitor fish movement over the next several years. Fish fitted with the acoustic transmitters will be externally marked with a small purple vinyl tag affixed just below the dorsal fin. Each tag is labeled with “KSU RESEARCH – PLEASE RELEASE” on one side and a tag ID number with contact information on the other. Because of the limited number of tagged fish, it is imperative that anglers release all fish affixed with the purple tag. Since external tags can sometimes dislodge, anglers are also encouraged to thoroughly examine captured fish for a small 1- to 2-inch incision scar, possibly with sutures, near the pectoral fins.

In addition to transmitters, underwater receivers will also be utilized and have been placed in Tuttle Creek and Milford reservoirs, as well as the Republican, Big Blue, Kansas, and Smoky Hill rivers. Receivers are placed on mooring lines marked by yellow or orange bullet floats with white stickers labeled “FISH RESEARCH EQUIPMENT – DO NOT DISTURB.” These receivers are deep underwater and continuously “listen” for telemetered fish, allowing biologists to know when a specific fish was near each receiver.

This collaborative effort with KSU complements earlier blue catfish tagging studies conducted by KDWP in Tuttle Creek and Milford reservoirs. Fish tagged in the earlier studies are marked with an orange or yellow tag and do not have implanted transmitters; these fish may be harvested if they meet the legal length requirements.

Data collected from tagged fish is crucial for biologists to manage fisheries and assist in future angling success. Anglers should report the catch and release date, and location, of fish with purple tags to If a blue catfish with an orange or yellow tag is caught, please instead call (620) 342-0658 to report the catch.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.


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