Cumberland Times-News

Outdoors

July 12, 2014

Trout Unlimited seeks help of anglers to track wild, native fish

— WASHINGTON, D.C.— Trout Unlimited has launched TroutBlitz, a citizen-science initiative aimed at enlisting everyday anglers to help the organization catalog and map healthy populations of wild and native trout all across North America. And all anglers need to do is go fishing.

“This is a great new effort for TU, and we’re all very excited to get everyday anglers involved in helping us identify populations of wild and native trout in North America,” said Jack Williams, TU’s senior scientist. “We’re asking all anglers—not just TU members—to be a part of TroutBlitz and use the simple interface to upload photos and locations to our project site. By sharing this information, anglers can help us identify healthy populations of native trout and help us understand where non-native trout have been introduced over the years.”

The applications are virtually endless for TU and it will compliment many existing scientific efforts, Williams noted. Not only can TroutBlitz participants help TU identify native and wild trout populations by using the TroutBlitz interface, they can help the organization identify intact watersheds, important tracts of intact habitat and waters that could benefit from restoration work, reconnection efforts or even native fish reintroduction efforts.

“The data could be very important on a number of fronts,” Williams said. “Anglers can help us flesh out our understanding of native trout ranges across the continent, and they can help us better understand the proliferation of non-native trout, as well. Additionally, we can use their help in locating previously unknown populations of rare native fish, like bull trout or grayling. And to help, all they need to do is go fishing.”

For anglers, it’s simple to catalog their catch and upload a photo of the fish they’ve caught. Simply log into the TroutBlitz project interface at www.tu.org and create a free iNaturalist.org account. Anglers who have been fishing lately can start right away—just click the “add observations” link atop the page and start cataloging your recent catches. More detailed information on how to do this, including some tips for taking high-quality photos of the fish you catch, can be found in the TroutBlitz Manual, or by watching this short video. Once you’ve named your catch, mapped its location and uploaded a photo of it, simply save your observation. All anglers should remember to minimize the time fish are kept out of the water if they are to be released.

As incentive, TU has created a “leader board” for anglers who might be interested in cataloging several catches in coming weeks, TU will announce prizes for anglers who save the most observations and for those who catalog the most diverse number of trout species and subspecies. Prizes will include free TU gift memberships, TU hats, decals and the chance to win other prizes provided by TU sponsors.

“We hope this will be a fun and easy way for all anglers to help TU make fishing better all across the continent,” Chris Hunt, TU’s communications director said. “This data can be very useful, and the more anglers we get to participate, the more we’ll be able to do.”

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