EMPORIA (KSNT) – A new wildlife study is targeted at some of the most popular sports fish in Kansas.

Nadia Marji with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) said wildlife officials have partnered with Kansas State University for a long-term telemetry study. The aim of this partnership is to examine movement patterns and space use of blue catfish, channel catfish, walleye and saugeye.

Information collected through this study will hopefully give KDWP biologists a better understanding of fish movement within reservoirs and fish passage downstream through reservoir dams, according to Marji. Researchers will implant a total of 15 acoustic transmitters into fish at Tuttle Creek and Milford reservoirs.

The transmitters will give biologists the opportunity to monitor fish movement over the next few years, according to Marji. Fish fitted with the transmitters will be externally marked with a small purple vinyl tag placed 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.

Marji said the limited number of monitored fish makes it crucial that anglers release any fish found with a purple tag. The external tags can sometimes fall off, so anglers should thoroughly examine captured fish for a small one- to two-inch incision scar, possibly with sutures, near the pectoral fins.

Along with the transmitters, researchers will also use underwater receivers to monitor the fish, according to Marji. In addition to Tuttle Creek and Milford reservoirs, they’re monitoring receivers in the Republican, Big Blue, Kansas and Smoky Hill rivers. The underwater receivers are on mooring lines marked by yellow or orange bullet floats with white stickers labeled “FISH RESEARCH EQUIPMENT – DO NOT DISTURB.” These receivers allow researchers to listen for telemetered fish and keep tabs on their locations.

Fish from earlier studies marked with orange or yellow tags do not have implanted transmitters, according to Marji. Anglers can harvest those fish normally.

The collected data will be used to manage fisheries and help with future angling success in Kansas, according to Marji. Anglers should report the catch and release date, and location, of fish with purple tags to kgido@ksu.edu. If you catch a blue catfish with an orange or yellow tag, you’re asked to call 620-342-0658 to report the catch.