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Fish Tagging - Tag Louisiana Program

As many of you know I am active in the Tag Louisiana program. This past week two specs I previously tagged were recaptured. I had the privilege of receiving two recapture reports in one week! When I published this on social media, it sparked questions about the program. There are still many people living in Louisiana that are unaware of the program or have heard of it but have limited knowledge. I decided to take this opportunity to help get the word out and offer a few tips that have helped me along the way. I will also throw in a few opinions.

The easiest way to get involved and to get all the information you need is to go to the Tag Louisiana website: The website will allow you to register, order your tags and applicator. It also provides all the information on how to tag fish (complete with videos and diagrams) and the information you will need to collect. Whatever your question, this is the first and best source of information. You can also open an account on the website which will allow you to log all of your captures directly via internet. There are other ways in which you can log or send the information but, in my opinion, this is the best way. Not only is it great to log the fish you have tagged but it also becomes a personal database of fish patterns for future use. It comes complete with a map where pins are dropped to mark captures and a note section, all of which can be beneficial to an angler for reference. Oh, did I mention this program is all free!

Now I would like to offer some tips on tagging fish. This is not meant to be a “how to” article but a few key pointers that have been beneficial to me. For complete information you should consult the Tag Louisiana website. First and foremost you will need the proper tools. The Tag Program will provide the tags and the applicator but there are a couple other things that I find very important.

Good fish grips are one such thing. From the time the fish is captured until its release I use fish grips. On the website, they stress that it is best to not have much or any contact with the fish using bare hands. Fish grips help accomplish this by limiting the amount that I have to touch the fish, which means usually only supporting the underside of it. I personally believe the fish grips by Lucid Fishing are ideal for this purpose. Not only do they make a quality product but their fish grips come with a 360 degree pivoting head which limits any damage that can be caused to those unruly fish.

The next important and useful tool is a measuring device. I use one of the common “hawg trough” style measuring boards. Not only does it provide an accurate way to measure the fish but it also serves as a work platform for the actual tagging procedure. In a kayak, this “work” platform is even more paramount.

The last tip is probably one of the most important. Have everything ready and easily accessible! To state the obvious, you don’t want to have the fish out of water for an extended amount of time. In order for the process to go quick, you shouldn’t have to be fumbling around looking for things or setting things up. I keep the applicator, already loaded with a tag, my fish grips and measuring board in arms reach. The whole process can be done quickly but you need to be ready. This will insure the fish’s survival after release and inevitably provide scientific information needed for conservation of the species we have come to appreciate as anglers.

Now let’s talk recapture. Even if you do not participate in tagging fish, there is a chance that you may recapture one. First and foremost, please report the tagged fish! I was happy to see that the two anglers who recaptured my tagged fish took the time to report them. I know there are a few gifts or prizes that are awarded to those that report them but the Tag Louisiana program is for scientific and conservation purposes only. So, don’t expect a boat or a truck. It is important to note that the tags used by the program are a different color than others. They are yellow. So, if you recapture a fish and it has a yellow tag, I would like to suggest that you consider releasing the fish. There is no need to keep the fish to report it and you may be helping to provide even more information in the future. In both cases of my recaptures, the fish were not released. One was only at large for 15 days before it was recaptured. Now I realize that not every fish that is recaptured may be viable for release and certainly I don’t know the circumstances of the two that I received reports about. However, I would like anglers to be aware that if the fish are viable for release, you may be able to greatly assist in collecting important data for conservation by releasing a tagged fish from the Tag Louisiana program. I received a question about what information will be needed to report it. Each tag has a phone number and a tag number. Again to state the obvious, you will need the tag number. You will also need the species, location (within one mile), length of fish, time of day, and the date. If you forget the phone number, it can be found on the website. I believe the most important is to record the tag number and the length, everything else I personally would remember.

I hope this helps in getting the word out about this great program. I would like to suggest that you consider being a fish tagger. If you practice catch and release or even if it’s to tag the over or undersize fish that you catch, it is a great way to assist in conservation for future generations. Without a doubt it certainly adds to the fun of fishing. Ask any tagger about how nice it is to get a recapture report!

If you have any questions, please e-mail me or hit me up in the comments section. As always, feel free to share the article to help get the word out about the program.

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  1. I'm a Kayak fisherman. I love it!!! Only been fishing for about 3 years now, and am now a tagger. It's fun and interesting. I keep a written record of every fish that I catch. It's just interesting to follow the fish. I've only been tagging for a month now, and have tagged 10 fish. I'm hoping to greatly increase that number this coming year.

    Love your blog.

    1. That's great Jeff. I enjoy tagging myself. It adds something to fishing for sure. Thanks!


Shane has been kayak fishing since 2009 and is passionate about it. Inshore saltwater kayak fishing is his addiction of choice, however, he enjoys the occasional offshore and freshwater trip as well. He mainly fishes the inshore lakes, bayous, and marshes of Southwest Louisiana but does venture into other territories. Shane is a member of the Hobie Fishing Team and holds Pro Staff positions with YakAngler, Lucid Fishing, and Ship To Shore Co. He was also the founding president of the Lake Charles Kayak Fishing Club. "My simple goal for this blog is to promote kayak fishing as it is something I love. I will post articles, reviews, videos, photos, and basically all things kayak fishing." ~Shane [Shane Coleman] (