Weather Radar & Fish Finder

Lake Berryessa News Introduces New Weather Radar & Fish Finder

Using an experimental new radar tower located in the Berryessa Highlands, the Lake Berryessa News is working with the University of Lake Berryessa and the California Department of Fish and Game to test a radical new technology. But the system goes far beyond typical weather radar systems familiar to television viewers and web site users. I reported in a previous issue of The Lake Berryessa News that DF&G is now stocking triploid rainbow trout in the lake. Not only are the trout sterile and able to grow to large sizes, but each fish has been tagged with the new passive radio frequency identification chip (RFID).

Weather & Fishfinder

RFID makes it possible to give each  fish in a lake its own unique identifying number. The latest passive RFID tags do not need a battery and can be read from longer distances. Passive RFID tags require an external electromagnetic field, such as the weather radar beam sweeping across the surface of the lake, to initiate a signal transmission. The RFID tags then transmit a simple low-power signal identifying the location and size of each fish. 

The primary receiving tower will be situated at the highest point on Big Island and will be sensitive enough to detect a signal from the main body of Lake Berryessa. Additional towers will expand coverage into the Narrows and at Monticello Dam.

The system began trials on April 1. A sample of a test run is shown in the photo above. The small fish symbols are a bit hard to see, but they seem to be heading for the west shore of the lake. 

This method of tracking is for scientific use and will not be available to anglers who must continue to use fish finders.                       © Peter Kilkus 2020