Have you caught a trout or salmon in Michigan that had an adipose fin clip? If so, it could contain a tag with valuable information.
Through mass marking assistance by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, several Great Lakes states, including Michigan, mark popular gamefish like steelhead, Chinook salmon, Atlantic salmon, brown trout and lake trout.
The adipose fin – a small, fleshy fin behind the larger dorsal fin – is found on only a few fish, including trout, salmon and catfish. Most trout and salmon with an adipose fin clip also have a coded-wire tag in their snout. The tag is small, like the tip of a lead pencil, so it must be removed by lab technicians. If anglers catch an adipose fin clipped fish, they should turn in the head at a local drop-off station in Michigan.
“We have creel clerks at some ports, but there are several areas where we don’t have staff, including on river systems with unique fisheries, such as Atlantic salmon or steelhead,” said Randy Claramunt, Lake Huron Basin coordinator with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “To get enough tag returns to learn about these species, we need the help of our anglers to voluntarily turn in heads.”
According to Jay Wesley, Lake Michigan Basin coordinator, fish tag returns help biologists understand survival, age and movements of important sport fish.
“We are particularly interested in confirming the wild contribution of Chinook salmon to the fishery, movement and wild contribution of steelhead in lakes and rivers, and survival and movement of Atlantic salmon,” Wesley said.
For more information on how to recognize a tagged fish and how to fill out the proper information, visit Michigan.gov/TaggedFish.