Tracking Trout

Bellwood, Blair County, Pa. - Juniata College students are using technology for a special study to track down brown trout in the Little Juniata River. 

Folks with this study say it's important for conservation. 

The Little Juniata River is more than 30 miles long and covers about 300 square miles.

By using radio transmitters, students are tracking where brown trout go when temperatures are too hot to handle.

Juniata College professor Umar Ramakrishnan is leading the study.

"So brown trout have range of tolerance up to about 75 degrees Fahrenheit and when the waters get higher than that we're not really sure where they go." 

The Little Juniata River Association wants to know where the fish swim. They provided the transmitters for the study. 

It's all about protecting parts of the river these fish use as shelter. 

"We try to get restrictions placed on it, stream bank improvements, stopping erosion, stop run offs, things like that. How do we protect from the headwaters all the way down," explained Dennis Johnson. 

Colton Moyer loves to fish and is studying wildlife conservation. 

He says field study is crucial in his education. 

"This is real life skills at it's finest. This isn't stuff you can do in the classroom this isn't stuff you can teak in the classroom. It's learning as you go, hands on in the field kind of stuff."

The study started in 2015, but temperatures weren't hot enough for results.=. 

"This is how research works," explained Ramakrishnan. We get some results and we are usually left with more questions than answers so we then move on to the next aspect of the study. What that's going to be will really be determined by the results we find."

Once complete, the study will be shared with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to keep brown trout in safe waters. 

 


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