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Freshwater Sportfishing Awards

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Awards for freshwater fish are offered in 22 categories. Each qualified entry receives a bronze pin. The largest fish in each category each year also receives a gold pin and plaque. There is also a Youth (17 and under) and Adult “Angler of the Year” award given to the person who has taken the greatest variety of “pinfish” during the year. Fish must meet minimum weight or length requirements listed below. Catch and Keep entries must be weighed on any scale certified by the State. Go to mass.gov/dfw/sportfishing-awards for a list of weigh stations and to download an affidavit. This information is also available at DFW offices.

Learn more about the Massachusetts Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program and see a list of 2014 Gold Pin Winners at mass.gov/dfw/sportfishing-awards

MASSACHUSETTS FRESHWATER SPORTFISHING RECORDS

Species

Weight

Water

Year

American Shad

11 lbs. 4 ozs.

Connecticut River

1986

Broodstock Salmon

22 lbs. 15 ozs.

Lake Mattawa, Orange

1997

Brook Trout

10 lbs. 0 ozs.

Ashfield Lake, Ashfield

2008

Brown Trout

19 lbs. 10 ozs.

Wachusett Reservoir

1966

Bullhead

6 lbs. 4 ozs.

Forest Lake, Methuen

2008

Carp

46 lbs. 5 ozs.

Quinsigamond Lake, Shrewsbury

2012

Chain Pickerel

9 lbs. 5 ozs.

Laurel Lake, Lee

1954

Channel Catfish

26 lbs. 8 ozs.

Ashfield Lake, Ashfield

1989

Crappie

4 lbs. 10 ozs.

Jake’s Pond, Plymouth

1980

Lake Trout

24 lbs. 0 ozs.

Wachusett Reservoir

2004

Landlocked Salmon

10 lbs. 2 ozs.

Wachusett Reservoir

1985

Largemouth Bass

15 lbs. 8 ozs.

Sampson Pond, Carver

1975

Northern Pike

35 lbs. 0 ozs.

Quacumquasit Pond, Brookfield

1988

Rainbow Trout

13 lbs. 13 ozs.

Wachusett Reservoir

1999

Smallmouth Bass

8 lbs. 2 ozs.

Wachusett Reservoir

1991

Sunfish

2 lbs. 1 ozs.

South Athol Pond, Athol

1982

Tiger Muskellunge

27 lbs. 0 ozs.

Lake Pontoosuc, Pittsfield

2001

Tiger Trout

9 lbs. 7 ozs.

Peter’s Pond, Sandwich

2004

Walleye

11 lbs. 0 ozs.

Quabbin Reservoir

1973

White Catfish

9 lbs. 3 ozs.

Baddacook Pond, Groton

1987

White Perch

3 lbs. 5 ozs.

Wachusett Reservoir

1994

Yellow Perch

2 lbs. 12 ozs.

South Watuppa Pond, Fall River

1979

Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program
Minimum Weights and Lengths

Species

Catch and Keep (Weight)

Catch and Release Length (inches)

Adult

Youth

Bowfin

6 lb. 0 oz.

4 lb. 0 oz.

26

Brook Trout

2 lb. 0 oz.

1 lb. 0 oz.

16

Brown Trout

4 lb. 0 oz.

2 lb. 0 oz.

22

Bullhead

2 lb. 0 oz.

1 lb. 0 oz.

15

Carp

15 lb. 0 oz.

10 lb. 0 oz.

31

Chain Pickerel

4 lb. 8 oz.

3 lb. 0 oz.

25

Channel Catfish

6 lb. 0 oz.

5 lb. 0 oz.

25

Crappie

1 lb. 8 oz.

1 lb. 0 oz.

14

Lake Trout

7 lb. 0 oz.

5 lb. 0 oz.

30

Landlocked Salmon1

4 lb. 0 oz.

3 lb. 0 oz.

22

Largemouth Bass

7 lb. 0 oz.

4 lb. 0 oz.

21

Northern Pike

15 lb. 0 oz.

10 lb. 0 oz.

36

Rainbow Trout

3 lb. 0 oz.

2 lb. 0 oz.

20

Shad

5 lb. 0 oz.

3 lb. 0 oz.

22

Smallmouth Bass

4 lb. 8 oz.

3 lb. 0 oz.

20

Sunfish2

0 lb. 12 oz.

0 lb. 8 oz.

10

Tiger Muskellunge

10 lb. 0 oz.

7 lb. 0 oz.

34

Tiger Trout

2 lb. 0 oz.

1 lb. 0 oz.

16

Walleye

4 lb. 0 oz.

2 lb. 0 oz.

24

White Catfish

4 lb. 0 oz.

2 lb. 0 oz.

19

White Perch

1 lb. 8 oz.

1 lb. 0 oz.

14

Yellow Perch

1 lb. 8 oz.

1 lb. 0 oz.

14

  1. Landlocked Salmon are recognized only from Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs.
  2. Sunfish category includes Redbreast Sunfish, Green Sunfish, Bluegill, Pumpkinseed, and Rock Bass.

Changes to the Massachusetts Freshwater Sportfishing Award Program

Catch and Release Category Added: In response to growing interest, MassWildlife has added a catch and release component to the Freshwater Sportfishing Award Program. Fish must be measured against a standard measuring device (e.g. a ruler, measuring board, etc.), photographed, and immediately released at the site of capture. Length is to be measured from the tip of the longest jaw to the tip of the compressed tail on a flat surface as a straight line (not measured over the curve of the body). All fractions in length will be rounded up to the nearest ¼ inch mark. For more on measuring fish, go to mass.gov/dfw/sportfishing-awards.

Catch and release anglers will receive the classic bronze pin for each eligible fish submitted. Additionally, the longest of each species submitted annually will be awarded a gold pin and plaque. A Catch and Release Angler of the Year trophy will be awarded annually to the angler who submits the widest variety of eligible catch and release species.

Bowfin Added: The last fish species to be added to the Sportfishing Award Program was Carp in 1979! Interest in Bowfin is increasing in the Northeast, with more states recognizing them as a gamefish. Bowfin are found in weedy backwater areas of major rivers. The Catch and Keep minimum weight is 6 pounds for adults and 4 pounds for youth. The Catch and Release minimum length is 26 inches.

Catch and Release Anglers:
Tips for Minimizing Fish Stress

  • The use of circle, wide gap and barbless hooks greatly reduces the chance of lethal wounding for released fish. Also, consider using single hooks instead of trebles or doubles. If fishing with artificials, flatten the hook barb with a pair of pliers or file down the barb.
  • Be attentive and set the hook immediately to prevent the fish from swallowing the hook (setting the hook is not necessary with circle hooks).
  • Reduce the fight time. The longer the fish fights, the higher the stress level for the fish. This is particularly important when fishing for trout in periods of warmer water temperatures. If it takes you a long time to land a fish, your drag may be set too loosely or your gear may be too light for the fish you are catching.
  • Use a fine-mesh landing net to reduce the amount of time required to land a fish.
  • If the hook is swallowed, do not forcefully remove it. Cut the line as close to the mouth as possible and then release the fish.
  • Wet your hands before touching the fish so you don’t damage the protective mucous layer on the outside of the fish.
  • Don’t use the gills or eyes as a handhold. Support the belly of larger fish. Bass can be safely handled by holding the lower jaw, thumb in the mouth and forefinger under the chin.
  • Quickly return fish to the water. Revive a fatigued fish by supporting it in a swimming position in the water; gently move it back and forth until it can swim off.

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