The Maryland Fishing Challenge is a free, year-round contest sponsored by the Maryland DNR Fisheries Service to highlight the state’s excellent fishing opportunities. Every angler who fishes legally in Maryland is eligible to participate. The contest runs from September 4, 2012 through September 2, 2013. It is funded by revenue from fishing licenses, gasoline sales surcharges, and a federal excise tax on sport fishing tackle and related equipment. The contest is also supported by generous recreational fishing organizations, individuals and businesses who donate prizes and fishing trips.
All public Maryland waters including freshwater ponds, lakes, impoundments, reservoirs, streams, Chesapeake Bay tributaries, Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean, Chincoteague Bay, Sinepuxent Bay, Isle of Wight Bay, and Assawoman Bay and their tributaries bounded by the Maryland-Delaware line and the Maryland-Virginia line are included in the Maryland Fishing Challenge. Additionally, fish caught while aboard a sport fishing vessel leaving and returning to a Maryland port will be eligible if they meet the other Angler Award criteria.
For information about the Maryland Fishing Challenge or Angler Award program, go to www.dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/challenge/index.asp or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Angler Award Program — Participating is easy — all you need to do is catch and register a fish which meets or exceeds the minimum Angler Award size. There are 60 eligible species in three divisions. Simply check your catch in at an official Angler Award center to receive your entry ticket. Most tackle shops are registered Angler Award Centers. Catch and Release anglers may participate by submitting a clear photograph of the fish and the signature of a witness at an Angler Award center. Fish should be photographed on a tape measure so that the size can be verified. Once you have your entry ticket, complete the online registration at: www.dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/challenge/index.asp?p=register.
After registering, you will receive your Angler Award certificate and information on the Grand Awards Celebration. Prize winners will be randomly selected from attendees at the celebration, which will be held during the Annual Maryland Seafood Festival on September 7, 2013 at Sandy Point State Park. Fishing Challenge Angler Award holders will receive free admission to the Maryland Seafood Festival for the day of the Grand Awards Celebration.
Diamond Jim — In June, July and August, DNR Fisheries biologists and teams of young anglers catch, tag and release striped bass in Chesapeake Bay. Every tag has a unique number designating the striper as a potential Diamond Jim. All tagged fish are worth cash to the lucky angler who catches it. Each month between June and September, one fish will be designated as an official Diamond Jim worth thousands of dollars. Go to www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/challenge/index.asp for the most current information on the values of tagged fish.
Youth Component —At selected youth rodeo events sponsored by local community and fishing organizations, one youth angler under the age of 16 is chosen to advance to the Grand Awards Celebration. Not all youth rodeos are included in the Maryland Fishing Challenge. Check with the organizer of the rodeo to find out if the winner will advance to the grand awards event. For information on youth rodeos in your area go to www.dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/keepfishing.
Maryland Fishing Challenge Rules:
Catch and Release Angler Award Program Rules
The Maryland Catch and Release Program rewards anglers who release alive an Angler Award-sized fish, if the species is in season.
The Maryland Fishing Challenge would not be possible without the sponsors, individuals, and fishing organizations who donate prizes and fishing trips. The contest is funded via revenue from fishing licenses, gasoline sales surcharges and a federal excise tax on sport fishing tackle and related equipment; and therefore it also depends on contributions from anglers like you. Thanks to all for your generous support!
Bob Purcell’s 56-pound snowy grouper
Rules and Procedures
Maryland DNR maintains state records for sport fish and awards a plaque to anglers whose catch exceeds the current state record or establishes a new species category. Positive identification of the species of fish is mandatory for consideration of state record applications. The catch must be inspected in person by a fisheries biologist from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Immerse the fish in ice water until it can be weighed in order to preserve the weight.
Call 443-569-1381 or 410-260-8325 to report a potential state record catch.
To check current state records visit www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/records/index.asp.
Be on the Lookout for Tagged Fish!
The success of tagging studies relies on anglers like you. If you catch a tagged fish, please follow the instructions printed on the tag, or call Fisheries Service at 800-688-3467. Please record the tag number, capture date, fishing location, and total length.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.