Department of Natural Resources
Anglers only need to notify agency personnel if the adipose fin (AD) is missing. This is a secondary mark that is used to indicate the fish had a coded-wire tag (CWT) implanted into the snout.
"The advantages of external physical marks are that they can be seen without dissection ... Marking...can be accomplished by clipping or punching fins or other body parts with scissors, nail clippers, side cutters or other tools. Because (fin clipping) is a simple and quick process, it has been a popular marking method employed on many different types of organisms...it is often used in conjunction with other marking methods to alert the person recovering the organism to look for internal tags." - Nielson, L. A. and Johnson, D. L., 1983. Fisheries Techniques.
Additional Information about Fin Clips: