(CBS Detroit) — If you’ve caught a trout or salmon in Michigan with its adipose fin clipped, the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says it may have a tag with important information.

Lake Michigan Basin coordinator Jay Wesley says the fish tag returns help biologist understand survival, age and movements of sport fish.

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“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.

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. (credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

According to the DNR, several Great Lakes states, including Michigan, are marking popular gamefish like steelhead, Chinook salmon, Atlantic salmon brown trout and lake trout. The adipose fin, which is a small fleshy fin behind the larger dorsal fin, is found on a few fish.

Officials say most trout and salmon with an adipose fin clip have a coded-wire tag in their snout.

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Anglers who catch an adipose fin clipped fish is asked to turn in the head at a local drop-off station.

“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 Lake Huron Basin coordinator Randy Claramunt. “To get enough tag returns to learn about these species, we need the help of our anglers to voluntarily turn in heads.”

Click here to view drop-off locations.

For more information on how to recognize a tagged fish and how to fill out the proper information, visit Michigan.gov/TaggedFish.

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