Big Rideau Lake Black Bass Research Update


Since the BRLA AGM in July, the Cooke Lab research team (led by Alice Abrams and Aaron Zolderdo) has deployed more acoustic receivers in Big Rideau Lake, spanning from Rideau Ferry to the Rocky Narrows. These receivers in the lake allow us to “listen” for tagged fish moving past. This array of acoustic listening devices will allow us to monitor fish dispersal and seasonal distribution following bass fishing tournaments.

This summer our lab collaborated with Cory Banford who is the chief and tournament director of Fishing League Worldwide Canada (FLW) and Shootout Fishing League (SFL). The Cooke Lab attended two tournament events held on Big Rideau Lake to tag tournament caught bass. Following the competition weigh-in, the tournament anglers volunteered their fish to our study and disclosed the location where the fish was caught. We then externally tagged the fish with a four-digit identification code, and surgically implanted the fish with an acoustic tag (in under three minutes). Our team then released the fish at Rideau Ferry in the same location as the tournament’s release location. To date we have implanted ~90 large- and smallmouth bass with acoustic tags.

Our last fish tagging for this season will be occurring at RJnBirdees fishing tournament held on Big Rideau Lake October 14th.  We will be tagging 32 tournament-caught fish, making our grand total of 123 tagged large- and smallmouth bass in Big Rideau Lake!

A day out on the lake deploying receivers.

A day out on the lake deploying receivers.

Example of a tagged fish  .

Example of a tagged fish.

The human dimension survey, which is focused on stakeholder perceptions of the black bass population and management in Big Rideau Lake is currently available online. To date we have had over 140 responses! Our goal is to reach a few hundred responses so if you are interested in promoting the survey personally then feel free to send me an e-mail and I will forward you our promotional poster. If you are interested in completing the survey yourself then follow the link below!

We will be downloading the receiver information regarding fish movement in November and I look forward to sharing our preliminary findings with the Big Rideau Lake Association.


Kind Regards,


Alice Abrams

M.Sc. Candidate

Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Lab

Department of Biology | Carleton University