Michigan Anglers Asked to Help With Tagged Fish

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service along with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources ask anglers to turn in adipose fin-clipped fish

Department of Natural Resources, Lansing, MI — November 16, 2021

Have you caught a trout or salmon in Michigan that had an adipose fin-clipped? 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.

What to Look For

You can help in the monitoring of Great Lakes salmon and trout populations. Many of these fish have been marked with a small coded-wire tag, which is implanted in the head of the fish, but invisible to the naked eye.

If you catch a fish that is missing only the adipose fin (see photo, above), it is possible that it has had a coded-wire tag implanted into its snout. Please use the coded wire tag recovery form to record the following information: date caught, location caught, species, length, weight, sex (if possible), and fin clip.

Randy Claramunt, Lake Huron Basin coordinator with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, holds a steelhead trout. The small, ear-shaped adipose fin is located on top of the fish, to the left of the larger dorsal fin. On a clipped-fin fish, this fin would be missing.

Remove and freeze the fish’s snout (part of the head from behind the eyes forward), and drop off the snout along with a datasheet at a drop-off location, or call 517-284-5830 for a list of local sites. Please do not put it in the mail!

All samples for CWT processing end up at the Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station. Once the samples arrive, tags are extracted, read under a microscope and both the angler and fish data are entered into a large database. If a tag is extracted, the fishermen will be notified of the age and stocking location of their catch.

“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 the 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.

DNR Customer Service Centers are open Tuesday-Thursday, 8 am to 5 pm


County Organization Name Address City State Zip Code Phone Number Notes
Allegan DNR Plainwell Customer Service Center 621 N 10th St Plainwell MI 49080 269-685-6851
Alpena Buck’s Bait & Tackle 8501 US 23 South Alpena MI 49707 989-595-2121 May-Sept
Alpena DNR Alpena Fisheries Station 160 E Fletcher St Alpena MI 49707 989-356-3232 M-F, call ahead to confirm availability (choose any extension)
Alpena Alpena City Boat Launch N/A Alpena MI 49707 N/A Freezer in fish cleaning station
Alpena Advanced Wildlife Design 3361 US 23 S Alpena MI 49707 989-356-3600
Alcona Harrisville State Park Office 248 State Park Rd Harrisville MI 49740 989-724-5126
Baraga DNR Baraga Customer Service Center 427 US 41 North Baraga MI 49908 906-353-6651
Barry Al & Pete’s Sport Shop 111 S Jefferson St Hastings MI 49058 269-945-4417
Bay DNR Bay City Customer Service Center 3580 State Park Dr Bay City MI 48706 517-684-9141 By appointment
Benzie DNR Platte River Fish Hatchery 15210 US 31 Beulah MI 49617 231-325-4611
Benzie East Shore Marina 324 Lake St Frankfort MI 49635 N/A May-Sept
Benzie Frankfort Municipal Ramp N/A Frankfort MI 49635 231-352-9051 Freezer in fish cleaning station
Benzie Betsie Bay Marina 100 Frankfort Ave Elberta MI 49628 231-352-2628
Berrien Captain Cooks 400 S Whittaker New Buffalo MI 49117 269-469-4510
Berrien Rusty Hooks Bait & Tackle 209 E Main St Niles MI 49120 269-683-3774
Berrien St Joseph City Launch Marina Island St Joseph MI 49085 N/A Freezer in fish cleaning station
Berrien Shamrock Park Campground St Joseph River at the Bridge Berrien Springs MI 49103 n/a Freezer in fish cleaning station
Berrien Tackle Haven 741 Riverview Dr Benton Harbor MI 49022 269-925-0341
Charlevoix DNR Charlevoix Fisheries Station 96 Grant St Charlevoix MI 49720
Charlevoix Ferry Beach Boat Launch N/A Charlevoix MI 49720 N/A Freezer in fish cleaning station
Cheboygan City Boat Launch N/A Cheboygan MI 49721 N/A Freezer in fish cleaning station
Chippewa Clover Land Electric Power Plant – LSSU Aquatics Lab Portage St Sault Ste Marie MI 49783 906-635-1949
Chippewa Aune Osborn Boat Launch N/A Sault Ste Marie MI 49783 N/A Freezer in fish cleaning station Mid-April-Mid-Oct
Chippewa Detour Village Fish Cleaning Station N/A Detour Village MI 49725 N/A Freezer in fish cleaning station
Clare Jays Sporting Goods 8800 S Clare Ave Clare MI 48617 989-386-3475
Delta Bayshore Bait & Tackle 1323 N Lakeshore Dr Gladstone MI 49837 906-428-2950
Delta DNR Escanaba Customer Service Center 6833 Hwy 2 (M-41 & M-35) Escanaba MI 49837 906-786-2351
Delta Fairport Marina M-183 Fairport MI 49835 N/A Freezer in fish cleaning station
Eaton Fitzgerald Park 133 Fitzgerald Park Grand Ledge MI 48837 517-627-7351
Emmett DNR Oden State Fish Hatchery Visitor Center 3377 1/2 Oden Rd Oden MI 49764 231-347-4689 DO NOT drop heads at hatchery due to potential of spreading disease
Genesee Fishing Tackle Grab Bag 5521 N State St Davison MI 48423 810-653-4771
Grand Traverse DNR Traverse City Customer Service Center 2122 S M-37 Traverse City MI 49686 231-922-5280
Huron Let’s Go Fishing 731 N Huron Ave Harbor Beach MI 48441 989-479-0777
Huron Offshore Tackle 5 Lytle Ave Harbor Beach MI 48441 989-324-0273
Huron Harbor Beach Marina & Boat Launch N/A Harbor Beach MI 48441 N/A Freezer in fish cleaning station
Huron Captain Morgan’s Grindstone Resort 3337 Point Aux Barques Rd Port Austin City MI 48467 989-738-7665 Freezer is next to ice machine
Ingham DNR Lansing Customer Service Center 4166 Legacy Pky Lansing MI 48911 517-284-4720
Iosco Dockside 106 S Newman Tawas City MI 48763 N/A
Iosco Au Sable River Store 680 W River Rd Oscoda MI 49750 989-739-5332 Open all year
Iosco The Dam Store 1879 E River Rd Oscoda MI 49750 989-739-9979 Open all year
Iosco Wellmans Party and Bait 910 S State Oscoda MI 49750 989-739-2869 Open all year
Iron DNR Crystal Falls Field Office 300 US 2 West Crystal Falls MI 49920 906-875-6622
Kalamazoo D&R Sports 8178 W Main Kalamazoo MI 49009 269-372-2277
Kent Al & Bobs Sports Inc 510 68th St SW Wyoming MI 49548 616-281-0777
Kent Brenners Auto Service 4765 W River Dr Comstock Park MI 49231 616-785-3388
Kent Sparta Sport Shop 169 N State Sparta MI 49345 616-887-8661
Luce DNR Newberry Customer Service Center 5100 State Hwy M123 Newberry MI 49868 989-293-5131
Mackinac St. Ignace City Boat Launch N/A St Ignace MI 49781 N/A Freezer at fish cleaning station
Mackinac Nunn’s Creek Fisheries Enhancement Center 8100 HC47 Hessel MI 49745 906-484-2391
Macomb DNR Lake St Clair Fisheries Research Station 33135 S River Rd Mt Clemens MI 48043 586-465-4771 M-F, call ahead to confirm availability (choose any extension)
Macomb Angler’s Point Marina 28955 William P. Rosso Hwy Chesterfield MI 586-949-9223 Next to Selfridge DNR launch ramp
Manistee Andy’s Tackle Box 147559 Coates Hwy Brethren MI 49619 231-477-5737 Open year round
Manistee First Street Boat Launch Manistee First St Manistee MI 49660 N/A Freezer at fish cleaning station
Manistee Fisherman’s Headquarters 17682 Caberfae Hwy (M-55) Wellston MI 49689 231-848-4242 Open year round
Manistee Insta-Launch Marina & Campsites 20 Park Ave Manistee MI 49660 231-723-3901
Manistee The Tangled Tackle 226 W Parkdale Rd Manistee MI 49660 231-887-4242
Manistee Pappy’s Bait & Tackle 17092 Caberfae Hwy Wellston MI 49689 231-848-4142 Open year round
Manistee Portage Lake Marina 5159 Main St Onekama MI 49660 231-889-5825
Manistee Solberg’s Marina 267 Arthur St Manistee MI 49660 231-723-2611
Marquette DNR Marquette Customer Service Center 1990 US 41 South Marquette MI 49855 906-228-6561 DO NOT drop heads at hatchery due to potential of spreading disease
Mason Ludington Municipal Marina 400 W Filer St Ludington MI 49431 231-843-9611 Freezer near fish cleaning station
Mason Captain Chucks, Inc. 5756 W US 10 Ludington MI 49431 231-843-4458
Muskegon Fisherman’s Landing 501 E Western Ave Muskegon MI 49444 231-726-6100 May-Oct
Muskegon DNR Hoffmaster State Park 6585 Lake Harbor Rd Muskegon MI 49441 231-798-3711
Muskegon DNR Snug Harbor Boat launch 3560 Memorial Dr Muskegon MI 49441 N/A Freezer in fish cleaning station
Muskegon DNR Muskegon State Game area Field Office 7600 E Messinger Rd Twin Lakes MI 49457 231-788-5055
Muskegon Montague Municipal Boat Launch 8500 Ramp Rd Montague MI 49437 N/A Freezer at fish cleaning station
Muskegon Shoreline Service Bait & Tackle 2080 Lakeshore Dr Muskegon MI 49444 231-759-7254
Oakland Waterford Fisheries Station 7806 Gale Rd Waterford MI 48327 248-666-4663
Oceana Pentwater City Marina 519 S Hancock Pentwater MI 49449 231-869-7028 Freezer in fish cleaning station
Otsego DNR Gaylord Customer Service Center 1732 W M32 Gaylord MI 49735 989-732-3541
Ottawa Grand Haven Chinook Pier N Harbor Dr Grand Haven MI 49417 616-842-2550 Freezer by Fish clean station
Ottawa DNR Holland Boat Launch 101 Bower St Holland MI 49424 616-399-9390 May-Sept, freezer at the fish cleaning station
Ottawa Fish On Bait & Tackle 13664 Cleveland Ave Nunica MI 49448 616-935-6985
Ottawa Lake View Marine & Tackle 24 N Beechtree St Grand Haven MI 49417 616-842-2770
Presque Isle Rogers City Boat Harbor 270 Lake St Rogers City MI 49779 517-734-3808 Late May – Sept, freezer in fish cleaning station
Sanilac Port Sanilac Boat Launch N/A Port Sanilac MI 48469 N/A Freezer at fish cleaning station
Sanilac Lexington Harbor N/A Lexington MI 48450 N/A Freezer at fish cleaning station
Schoolcraft City of Manistique Boat Launch N/A Manistique MI 49854 N/A Freezer at fish cleaning station
St. Clair Anderson’s Pro Bait 2731 Pine Grove Ave Port Huron MI 48060 810-984-3232
St. Clair Blue Water Bait 8089 Dixie Hwy Fair Haven MI 48023 586-725-1448 Next to Fair Haven DNR Launch
Van Buren Black River Boat Launch- South Haven 298 Black River St South Haven MI 49090 269-637-3523 Freezer at fish cleaning station
Van Buren DNR Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery 34270 CR 652 Mattawan MI 49071 616-688-2696
Wayne DNR Detroit Customer Service Center 1801 Atwater St Detroit MI 48207 313-396-6890
Wexford DNR Cadillac Customer Service Center 8015 Mackinac Tr Cadillac MI 49701 231-775-9727
Wexford DNR Harrietta Field Office 6801 30 Mile Rd Harrietta MI 49638 231-389-2551 DO NOT drop heads at hatchery due to potential of spreading disease