Tag Return Programs

Tag being inserted into a northern snakehead.If you caught a tagged fish please reference the chart below as to who to contact. Please have the species, capture date, total length, tag number, tag color, and catch location ready for the contact. Algae may have to be scraped off to read the tag number. Various species of fish are tagged by the Department in an effort to obtain data such as movement, mortality, habitat use, and growth rates.

Tag Color/Type
Tag Location
American Shad
Chartreuse, Pink, Yellow, Orange, Blue, Green/Floy T-Bar Tag
Below Dorsal Fin
Chuck Stence
(410) 643-6788
Purpose of this tagging study is to obtain a population estimate.
Atlantic Croaker
Green - Internal Anchor Tag
Left side near belly
Beth Versak

Tags were applied as part of a fishing contest but data are still being collected to determine sasonal movements.

Fishermen are still eligible for a modest reward.

Black Drum
Brown - Anchor Tag, White - Anchor Tag, Orange - Dart Tag
Left Side Belly
Harry Rickabaugh
410-643-6776 ext 109
The purpose of tagging black drum is to obtain life history data including growth, migration, and distribution.
Blue Catfish
Pink 3" Tag
Matt Ogburn (with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center)
No reward currently offered. These fish have been fitted with a surgically implanted accoustic tag that transmits a signal. Please note tag number, location and phone number before returning fish to the water.
Blue Catfish
Yellow or White - Floy T Bar Tag
Back of the dorsal fin on the left side
Mary Groves
A reward will be provided for each tag you return; if you catch a blue catfish with 2 tags (yellow and white), please return both tags and you will receive 2 rewards
Hickory Shad
Brown Floy T-Bar Tag
T-Bar Anchor
Chuck Stence
(410) 643-6788  
Purpose of this tagging study is to obtain exploitation rates.
Largemouth Bass
Yellow external dart tag (3 inches) Each tag will have a number and a phone number for reporting the tag. Anglers should not remove the tag if they are releasing the fish.
upper back of fish
Tim Groves at 1-301-888-2423 and report the tag number and approximate size of the fish.
We are conducting a mark-recapture project on Mattawoman Creek (Potomac River) to estimate catch-and-release mortality, which will be used in managing the fishery and assessing the potential of catch-and-return areas.
Gray, Green, Yellow - T Bar Tag
Left side below dorsal fin
John Mullican
Anglers are encouraged, but not required to release a legal (36" +) tagged fish.
Northern Pike (Deep Creek Lake Only)
Yellow Dart Tag
Located just below dorsal fin on either side. Be on the lookout for signs with specific information.
Matt Sell 301-689-7168
Tagging project began in 2014 and will generate basic life history information including growth, longevity, and movements. Anglers are encouraged to release tagged fish.
Northern Snakehead
Blue/Floy T-Bar tag
Below dorsal fin
Joshua Newhard (joshua_newhard@fws.gov)
Purpose of the tagging study is to determine patterns of movement, estimate population size, and individual growth rates.
Striped Bass

Pink - Internal Anchor Tag

Green - Internal Anchor Tag

Florescent - Old Diamond Jim Tag, Internal Anchor

Left side belly
Beth Versak

Tagging data are used to determine migration rates, migration patterns, growth rates, and mortality rates.

The reward for calling in a tag is a certificate with information about the tagged fish and a hat with a picture of a striped bass on it. There are also high reward tags worth $125.

Yellow Tag

The tag is located along the soft dorsal fin on the left side of the fish. When you call the number on the tag, report the date and location of the catch, the tag number, and whether the walleye was kept or released
If a fish is to be released, the department asks the angler to report the tag information but to not remove the tag from the walleye.​​

Matt Sell

Any angler who reports tagged walleye between April 16, 2022 and  February 28, 2023, will be entered into a drawing for a $50 prepaid Visa gift card. 
White Perch
Green - Internal Anchor Tag
Left side near belly
Beth Versak

Tags were applied as part of a fishing contest but data are still being collected to determine sasonal movements.

Fishermen are still eligible for a modest reward.

Yellow Perch
Black Raspberry Floy T-Bar Tag
Below Dorsal Fin
Paul Piavis
410-643-6785 ext 107
Purpose of this study to obtain exploitation rates.

For Live Sturgeon Reward Program (Terminated) contact U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 1-800-448-8322.

Horseshoe Crab Tags: If you should find a tagged horseshoe crab, record the tag number, location of observance, and condition of animal, and report this information online - Horseshoe Crab Resighting Form. It is not necessary to remove the tag. Those who report a tagged horseshoe crab may receive a reward.