If you catch certain types of fish in the Great Lakes that are marked and tagged, Michigan DNR officials are hoping to hear from you.

Since the 1980s, the DNR has used the coded-wire tag program to mass mark various species in Michigan. Mass marking provides critical data as fisheries biologists assess the value of naturally reproduced versus stocked fish, as well as lakewide fish movement.

The program involves implanting a small, coded-wire tag, which is invisible to the naked eye, into the snout of a fish. A fish with a coded-wire tag can be identified because its adipose fin (the small, fleshy fin between the dorsal and tail fins) has been removed. - DNR

Anglers who catch these tagged fish can then record needed information (like where and when the fish was caught, details from the tag, and the species, length and weight of the fish), remove and freeze the fish’s snout and drop it off at designated locations.

A statewide list of drop-off locations is available on the DNR website HERE.

The DNR, in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other state agencies, places coded-wire tags in the snout and remove the adipose fin from the following species stocked in lakes Huron and Michigan:

  • lake trout
  • rainbow trout (steelhead)
  • chinook and Atlantic salmon

If you have questions, contact John Clevenger at 231-547-2914 or Elyse Walter at 517-284-5839.