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New York State Angler Achievement Awards

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Each year numerous anglers take to the water in hope of catching a trophy-sized fish. For those lucky enough to land a large fish, one way of marking the event is to enter the fish in DEC’s New York State Angler Achievement Awards Program. Started in the early 1900s and expanded in 1990, this program officially recognizes anglers for their fishing accomplishments. Awards are given for catching any of 45 different eligible freshwater fish species. You can get an award for catching a one-pound perch just as easily as you can for catching a 33-pound chinook salmon. You can enter your catch in any of three categories—Annual Award, Catch and Release, and State Record.

Annual Award

12NYFW-Annual-Award.jpgThe Annual Award recognizes the anglers who caught the three heaviest fish of the calendar year (Jan. 1–Dec. 31) for each species. Each fish entered must meet or exceed the minimum qualifying weights found below . The winning anglers are awarded an Angler Achievement Award lapel pin and a Certificate of Achievement.

Catch and Release

12NYFW-CatchandRelease.jpgThe Catch and Release Award commends the actions of those anglers who return their qualifying catch to the water. This category is limited to 21 major sportfish species found below. Anglers catching a qualifying fish are awarded a distinctive Catch and Release lapel pin.

State Record

The State Record recognizes those anglers who break current New York State records for any of the 45 eligible fish species. Anglers receive a custom engraved plaque, an Angler Achievement Award lapel pin and a Certificate of Achievement.

For more information on the New York State Angler Achievement Awards program, contact (518) 402-8891.

Rules of Entry

Download the Angler Achievement Award Form

  1. Fish must be taken during their respective open season by angling or ice fishing in New York State waters in accordance with New York State fishing regulations. Angling does not include any method by which the fish are foul hooked. Fish showing signs of foul hooking, gill nets, tampering or foreign objects will be disqualified.
  2. Qualifying fish must be entered on an official entry form or facsimile. All applicable portions of the entry form must be completed.
  3. Entry forms must be received by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Bureau of Fisheries within 30 days of the catch.
  4. All entries must be accompanied by a clear, side-view photograph of the fish or if possible, the angler with the fish. Information provided on the entry form and any associated photographs become the property of DEC and may be used for promotional purposes. Photographs cannot be returned.
  5. Pins awarded annually will be limited to one pin per angler per species.
  6. To enter a fish in the Annual Award category:
    1. Make sure the fish is one of the 45 species designated under the Annual Award category.
    2. Make sure the fish is weighed on a certified scale by the owner or an employee of the business where the scale is located. Certified scales can be found at post offices, supermarkets and bait shops, just to name a few. Fish weighed on personal handheld scales will not be accepted.
    3. Make sure the fish meets or exceeds the minimum qualifying weight for the species.
    4. Make sure weighing is observed by one witness other than the scale owner or business employee.
    5. Make sure sections A,B,C,D,E, and G of the entry form are completed.
    6. Make sure a side-view photograph of the fish (angler with the fish, if possible) is enclosed with the entry form.
  7. To enter a fish in the Catch and Release category:
    1. Make sure the fish is one of the 21 species designated under the Catch and Release category.
    2. Make sure the fish is measured from tip of nose to tip of tail.
    3. Make sure the fish meets or exceeds the minimum qualifying length for its species.
    4. Make sure sections A,B, C and G of the entry form are completed.
    5. Make sure a side-view photograph of the fish (angler with the fish, if possible) is enclosed with the entry form. Photograph must be taken at the catch site; entry forms accompanied by photographs taken at the angler’s home, bait shop, etc. will be disqualified.
    6. Make sure the fish is handled properly. Fish should be measured, photographed and released quickly. Improper handling (i.e., fish hanging from stringers or scales) will result in disqualification. Fish not released promptly (i.e., weighed off-site prior to release) are not eligible for Catch and Release consideration.
  8. To enter a fish in the New York State Record category:
    1. Make sure the fish is one of the 45 species designated for State Record consideration.
    2. Make sure the fish is weighed on a certified scale by the owner or an employee of the business where the scale is located.
    3. Make sure weighing is observed by one witness other than the scale owner or business employee.
    4. Make sure sections A–G of the entry form are completed.
    5. Make sure a clear side-view photograph of the fish (angler with the fish, if possible) is enclosed with the entry form.
    6. Make sure the fish is identified and examined by a DEC fisheries biologist, or a designee, prior to any cutting of the fish or removal of entrails. Section F will be completed by the person verifying the fish.
    7. Fish fed or otherwise grown with the intention of breaking a state record will be disqualified.
  9. For fish entered in the Annual Award or Catch & Release categories,* send completed entry forms to:

New York State Angler Achievement Awards
NYSDEC–Bureau of Fisheries
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753

* Completed entry forms for fish entered in the State Record category should be sent directly to DEC’s Bureau of Fisheries regional office nearest you.

  1. The DEC Bureau of Fisheries reserves the right to reject any Angler Achievement Award Application on the basis of erroneous species identification, improper handling, illegal fishing methods, evidence of tampering or foreign objects, or inability to adequately document any of the circumstances relating to the catch.

Qualifying Criteria

To enter a fish in the Angler Achievement Awards Program, it must meet the minimum qualifying weight or length for the species in the entered category. The following list shows the minimum qualifying requirements for each species.

Annual Award Category

Species

Minimum
Weight

Bass, Largemouth

6 lb 0 oz

Bass, Rock

1 lb 0 oz

Bass, Smallmouth

4 lb 0 oz

Bass, Hybrid Striped

6 lb 0 oz

Bass, Striped
(Hudson River, Delaware River)

30 lb 0 oz

Bass, White

1 lb 0 oz

Bluegill (Sunfish)

1 lb 0 oz

Bowfin

5 lb 0 oz

Bullhead, Black

1 lb 0 oz

Bullhead, Brown

1 lb 0 oz

Burbot

3 lb 0 oz

Carp, Common

20 lb 0 oz

Catfish, Channel

10 lb 0 oz

Catfish, White

2 lb 0 oz

Cisco (Lake Herring)

1 lb 0 oz

Crappie, Black

1 lb 8 oz

Crappie, White

1 lb 8 oz

Drum, Freshwater

10 lb 0 oz

Eel, American

4 lb 0 oz

Fallfish

1 lb 0 oz

Gar, Longnose

5 lb 0 oz

Muskellunge

30 lb 0 oz

Muskellunge, Tiger

15 lb 0 oz

Perch,White

1 lb 0 oz

Perch, Yellow

1 lb 0 oz

Pickerel, Chain

4 lb 0 oz

Pickerel, Redfin

1 lb 0 oz

Pike, Northern

15 lb 0 oz

Pumpkinseed (Sunfish)

1 lb 0 oz

Salmon, Atlantic

Great Lakes

14 lb 0 oz

Inland

6 lb 0 oz

Salmon, Chinook

33 lb 0 oz

Salmon, Coho

16 lb 0 oz

Salmon, Kokanee

1 lb 0 oz

Salmon, Pink

3 lb 8 oz

Sauger

1 lb 8 oz

Shad, American

6 lb 0 oz

Sucker, Redhorse

6 lb 0 oz

Sucker, White

2 lb 8 oz

Trout, Brook*

3 lb 0 oz

Trout, Brown

Great Lakes

16 lb 0 oz

Inland Lakes

7 lb 0 oz

Inland Streams

3 lb 8 oz

Trout, Lake

Great Lakes

16 lb 0 oz

Inland

10 lb 0 oz

Trout, Rainbow

Great Lakes

14 lb 0 oz

Inland Lakes

5 lb 0 oz

Inland Streams

3 lb 8 oz

Trout, Splake

8 lb 0 oz

Walleye

8 lb 0 oz

Whitefish, Lake

4 lb 0 oz

* Lakes and ponds containing brook trout brood stock, splake, or recently stocked trophy-sized brook trout are not eligible for NYS brook trout records. Check with your regional fisheries office.

 

Catch and Release Category

Species

Minimum Length

Bass, Largemouth

20 inches

Bass, Smallmouth

18 inches

Bass, Striped
(Hudson River, Delaware River)

36 inches

Bluegill (Sunfish)

10 inches

Carp, Common

36 inches

Crappie, Black or White

14 inches

Muskellunge
(except Lake Erie)
(minimum legal length for Lake Erie is 54 in.)

48 inches

Muskellunge, Tiger

36 inches

Perch, Yellow

14 inches

Pickerel, Chain

25 inches

Pike, Northern

36 inches

Pumpkinseed (Sunfish)

10 inches

Salmon, Atlantic

Great Lakes

30 inches

Inland

24 inches

Salmon, Chinook

40 inches

Salmon, Coho

33 inches

Trout, Brook

18 inches

Trout, Brown

Great Lakes

32 inches

Inland Lakes

24 inches

Inland Streams

20 inches

Trout, Lake

Great Lakes

34 inches

Inland

30 inches

Trout, Rainbow

Great Lakes

30 inches

Inland Lakes

24 inches

Inland Streams

20 inches

Walleye

25 inches

New York State Freshwater Fishing Records (as of May 30, 2012)

Fish Species

Weight

Water

Angler Name

Catch Date

American Eel

7 lb. 14 oz.

Cayuga Lake

Larry Manino

7/25/1984

American Shad

9 lb. 4 oz.

Hudson River

Robert Kubica

5/9/2007

Atlantic Salmon

24 lb. 15 oz.

Lake Ontario

Mike Dandino

4/5/1997

Black Bullhead

7 lb. 7 oz.

Mill Pond

Kevin Kelly

8/25/1993

Black Crappie

3 lb. 12 oz.

Duck Lake

Kenneth Kierst

4/17/1998

Bluegill

2 lb. 8 oz.

Kohlbach Pond

Devin VanZandt

8/3/1992

Bowfin

12 lb. 13 oz.

Basha Kill

Jeff Harrington

6/5/2000

Brook Trout

5 lb. 14 oz.

West Canada Wilderness Area

William Altman

5/5/2012

Brown Bullhead

7 lb. 6 oz.

Lake Mahopac

Glen Collacuro

8/1/2009

Brown Trout

33 lb. 2 oz.

Lake Ontario

Tony Brown

6/10/1997

Burbot

16 lb. 12 oz.

Lake Ontario (Black River Bay)

Terrance Colwell

2/14/1991

Chain Pickerel

8 lb. 1 oz.

Toronto Reservoir

John Bosland

2/13/1965

Channel Catfish

32 lb. 12 oz.

Brant Lake

Chris Dixon

6/21/2002

Chinook Salmon

47 lb. 13 oz.

Salmon River

Kurtis Killian

9/7/1991

Cisco (Lake Herring)

5 lb. 7 oz.

Lake Lauderdale

Albert Baratto

1/25/1990

Coho Salmon

33 lb. 7 oz.

Lake Ontario

Stephen Sheets Jr.

8/13/1998

Common Carp

50 lb. 6 oz.

Tomhannock Reservoir

Charles Primeau Sr.

5/12/1995

Fallfish

3 lb. 9 oz.

Susquehanna River

Jonathan McNamara

4/15/2009

Freshwater Drum

24 lb. 8 oz.

Lake Ontario (Chaumont Bay)

Gregory Netto

6/8/2005

Hybrid Striped Bass

15 lb. 5 oz.

Lake Waccabuc

Bryan Colley

7/30/2004

Kokanee Salmon

3 lb. 6 oz.

Boy Scouts Clear Pond

Kenneth Shear

6/14/2002

Lake Trout

41 lb. 8 oz.

Lake Erie

Jesse Wykstra

8/9/2003

Lake Whitefish

10 lb. 8 oz.

Lake Pleasant

Randolph Smith

8/29/1995

Largemouth Bass

11 lb. 4 oz.

Buckhorn Lake

John Higbie

9/11/1987

Longnose Gar

13 lb. 3 oz.

Lake Champlain

Kenneth Cassant

7/25/1999

Muskellunge

69 lb. 15 oz.

St. Lawrence River

Arthur Lawton

9/22/1957

Northern Pike

46 lb. 2 oz.

Great Sacandaga Lake

Peter Dubuc

9/15/1940

Pink Salmon

4 lb. 15 oz.

Lake Erie

Randy Nyberg

9/16/1985

Pumpkinseed

1 lb. 9 oz.

Indian Lake

R. Kennard Mosher

7/19/1994

Rainbow Trout

31 lb. 3 oz.

Lake Ontario

Robert Wilson

8/14/2004

Redfin Pickerel

2 lb. 1 oz.

Lake Champlain

Duane Gillespie

3/5/1989

Rock Bass

1 lb. 15 oz.

Ramapo River

Eric Avogardo

5/26/1984

Sauger

4 lb. 8 oz.

Lower Niagara River

Darrin Schwenkbeck

9/30/1990

Shorthead Redhorse

11 lb. 11 oz.

Salmon River

Joe Williams

5/26/1996

Smallmouth Bass

8 lb. 4 oz.

Lake Erie

Andrew Kartesz

6/4/1995

Splake

13 lb. 8 oz.

Limekiln Lake

Jonathan Simon

6/27/2004

Striped Bass

55 lb. 6 oz.

Hudson River

Ian Kiraly

5/9/2007

Tiger Musky

35 lb. 8 oz.

Tioughnioga River

Brett Gofgosky

5/25/1990

Walleye

16 lb. 9 oz.

Mystic Lake

Thomas Reed

1/20/2009

White Bass

3 lb. 6 oz.

Furnace Brook

Robert Hilton

5/2/1992

White Catfish

10 lb. 5 oz.

New Croton Reservoir

Joe Silicato

5/17/1998

White Crappie

3 lb. 13 oz.

Sleepy Hollow Lake

James Weinberg

6/9/2001

White Perch

3 lb. 1 oz.

Lake Oscaletta

Joseph Tansey

9/21/1991

White Sucker

5 lb. 3 oz.

Hudson River

Eric Kindron

5/13/1994

Yellow Perch

3 lb. 8 oz.

Lake Erie

George Boice

4/28/1982

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