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Skillful Angler Awards Program

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This brown trout was caught in the Pohatcong River by Kelsey Rinehart of Stewartsville.

The Skillful Angler Awards Program is designed both to supplement the New Jersey Record Fish Program and to acknowledge that many anglers catch freshwater and marine fish that are not record size, but are still worthy of recognition because the size and weight of the fish sufficiently tested the angler’s skill. Open to resident and non-resident anglers. All fish must be caught in New Jersey waters using a hook and line during legally open seasons. It is comprised of three categories: Adult (for anglers age 16 and older), Junior (under age 16) and Catch and Release (based on length). A clear, side-view photo that allows accurate species identification must be included with each application.

Make a splash! In addition to including a photo with your Skillful Angler application, send us your best photo for use in our Digest. The editor will consider only high-quality, scenic fishing photos. For prints, submit to: NJ Div. Fish and Wildlife, Digest Editor, MC501-03, P.O. Box 420, Trenton, NJ 08625-0420 or send digital images to Cindy.Kuenstner@dep.state.nj.us. Send only high resolution (300 dpi) “original” digital photos. Low resolution versions intended for viewing on-screen do not match criteria for this publication. Prints/slides cannot be returned and all photo submissions become the property of New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife for use in this or other publications and on our Web site. Be sure to include a daytime phone number so we may confirm details about the photo. Be sure also to submit a photo with your completed Skillful Angler application to the address below.

Anglers qualifying for a Skillful Angler award receive a certificate as a testament to their achievement. Anglers may submit applications for larger fish caught even after receiving a certificate.

At the end of the year, special recognition is given to anglers who catch the largest fish in each species category. The winner of each category receives a special commemorative gift recognizing his or her accomplishment as the best of New Jersey’s Skillful Anglers.

Fish must be measured from the tip of the nose (with mouth closed) to the tip of the tail. For Adult/Junior categories, fish must be weighed and measured by fishing license agents, tackle shops or authorized Fish and Wildlife fisheries biologists.

Minimum Requirements for Each Freshwater Species:

Species

Adult Weight

(lbs., oz.)

Junior Weight

(lbs., oz.)

Catch & Release

(inches)

Largemouth Bass

6

4

21

Smallmouth Bass

4

3

19

Striped Bass Hybrid

8

6

24

Striped Bass

30

25

40

Bullhead

2

1 lb., 8 oz.

14

Carp

25

20

35

Channel Catfish

10

8

29

Crappie

2

1 lb., 8 oz.

14

Muskellunge

20

15

40

Yellow Perch

1 lb., 8 oz.

1

13

Chain Pickerel

4

3

24

Northern Pike

10

8

34

American Shad

7

5

24

Brook Trout

3

2

19

Brown Trout

8

5

25

Lake Trout

12

8

31

Rainbow Trout

5

3 lbs., 8 oz.

23

Sunfish

1

12 oz.

9

Walleye

6

4 lbs., 8 oz.

24

The New Jersey State Record Fish Program requires a separate application and is based on weight alone. Scale certification documentation and a weighmaster’s signature are necessary. Other rules apply. Visit Fish and Wildlife’s Web site at NJFishandWildlife.com for a complete list of current state records.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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