Natural Resources, School of



Douglas L. Zentner

Jonathan J. Spurgeon

Date of this Version



Published in North American Journal of Fisheries Management 41 (2021), pp 474–483.

DOI: 10.1002/nafm.10547


Copyright © 2020 American Fisheries Society


Population parameter estimates from mark–recapture studies are dependent on individuals retaining marks or tags. Therefore, tag retention estimates are needed for different tag types and anatomical tagging locations. Few studies have empirically quantified the bias from tag retention on fish population parameters that are derived from mark–recapture studies. We examined differences in retention between T-bar anchor tags and PIT tags as well as among four anatomical locations for PIT tags in Brown Trout Salmo trutta in a tailwater fishery in Arkansas, USA. We also estimated the relative bias of tag type and PIT tag location on apparent survival estimates from Cormack–Jolly–-Seber models. Tag retention for the anchor tags was 15.1% lower than that for the PIT tags after 1 year and 46.1% lower after 4 years. Greater PIT tag retention resulted in less biased estimates of apparent survival for PIT tags (average −7.1%) than for anchor tags (average −37.8%). However, PIT tags that were placed in different anatomical locations had varying retention rates, so the degree of relative bias that was associated with their apparent survival estimates also varied. Inserting the PIT tags in the cheek or dorsal musculature provided the greatest retention for Brown Trout and may provide the least biased apparent survival estimates from future mark–recapture studies.