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Robo-trout surprise fishermen

Maine's wildlife department tracking trout areas by implanting antenna in mature fish - much to a few anglers' surprise.
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Written by Richard Koman on

Maine angler Ken Snowden was surprised when he caught a 23-inch-long trout. It was sure to be a trophy winner but there was one little problem. It had a 10-inch antenna sticking out of its belly. But the robo-trout, as the anglers call them, weren't planted in Main waters by aliens, just the state's Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, AP reports.

About 75 transmitter-equipped trout have been released in Moosehead Lake and its tributaries by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife as part of an effort to track them and maintain the right mix of fish.

We do the surgery right out in the field," said Tim Obrey, a fish and wildlife biologist. "We implant the transmitter and wire, give ´em three or four stitches and they´re ready to go." The transmitter-equipped trout have been swimming since last fall. Biologists can track the fish via receivers carried by hand, planted in fixed locations or taken aloft in airplanes. A computer logs each time a receiver picks up a signal.

The department let Snowden keep the fish - after government officials retrieved the antenna - which won him first prize in a fishing competition. He's having the fish mounted - but with a special touch:

He asked Jayne Leslie Dyke to use a line of dark thread to mimic the antenna that was protruding from its belly. Once it´s mounted, it´ll look like it did when Snowdon caught it, with the antenna-like thread coming from a small incision.

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