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Angler Recognition Program

Fishing Regulations Icon Tennessee Fishing

The Tennessee Angler Recognition Program (TARP) gives anglers an opportunity to have their trophy-size fish recognized by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Anglers of any age, who catch large fish that meet or exceed qualifying lengths, can apply. The TWRA Fisheries Management Division sends these accomplished anglers TARP certificates featuring color reproductions of fish artwork by renowned wildlife artist Joseph R. Tomelleri.

The program is designed to acknowledge anglers for outstanding sportfishing accomplishments, to encourage catch and release of trophy size fish and to provide the TWRA with information on large fish caught throughout the state.

Not to be confused with the State Record Fish program, TARP recognizes anglers who catch trophy-size fish that are not necessarily state records.

Trophy Fish/Master Angler Certificates

TARP features five levels of angler recognition. Anglers catching a fish that meets or exceeds the minimum “trophy” length requirements will receive a Trophy Fish certificate. These certificates feature artwork representing the species caught by the applicant. After anglers submit five trophy-size fish, in any combination, a Master Angler Level I certificate and patch will be awarded at no cost to the angler. Anglers submitting five different trophy-size fish will receive a Master Angler Level II certificate and patch. The Master Angler Level III will be awarded to anglers submitting ten different trophy-size fish. In addition to a certificate and patch, the angler will receive a “tackle package,” courtesy of Bass Pro Shops (Kodak, TN). Master Angler IV will be awarded to anglers submitting fifteen different trophy fish. The award will consist of a certificate, patch and an engraved trophy. The newest level, Master Angler V, will be awarded to anglers submitting twenty different trophy fish, and will receive a certificate, patch and engraved plaque.

How Do You Qualify?

  • The fish must meet or exceed the minimum Trophy Fish Length.
  • Persons 13 years of age and older must be licensed anglers and must provide their license number (TWRA #) on the application.
  • The fish must be caught legally (in accordance with Tennessee Sportfishing Regulations) in Tennessee waters, by sportfishing methods only (rod and reel or cane pole).
  • The length of the fish must be verified by either a witness or a photograph. The witness must complete the section on the application and/or the photo must be of the fish lying flat on top of or beside a flat measuring rule or tape and included with the application. Submitted photos may be used on the TWRA web site and in TWRA publications.

If you believe your catch exceeds the current state record for that species, you should immediately contact a TWRA Fisheries Biologist for positive identification of the fish (see State Records).

How Do You Apply?

An application form is located on Trophy Fish Application Form (PDF) and online. Complete one application form for each fish you are registering. You may include more than one application form per envelope. If the fish length is being verified by photo, the picture must be enclosed with the application. For each Trophy Fish Certificate only, a $5.00 processing fee, per application, must also be enclosed and mailed within 90 days from the date of catch. Make check or money order payable to TWRA and mail, with the application(s), to the address at the right of the application. The processing fee is non-refundable for non-qualifying applications. For further information about TARP or the State Record Fish program, call (615) 781-6575, or visit www.tnwildlife.org.

Measuring Your Fish

Please refer to the instructions on Statewide Regulations & Limits.

Minimum Trophy Fish Lengths

Species

Length (inches)

Largemouth Bass 22
Spotted Bass 18
Smallmouth Bass 20
Striped Bass 40
Hybrid Striped Bass
(Cherokee Bass)
28
White Bass 18
Yellow Bass 11
Black Crappie 14
White Crappie 14
Bluegill 10
Redear Sunfish 11
Rock Bass 10
Sauger 20
Walleye 28
Yellow Perch 11
Muskellunge 40
Brook Trout 10
Brown Trout 26
Rainbow Trout 24
Lake Trout 28
Channel Catfish 28
Blue Catfish 36
Flathead Catfish 36
Common Carp 34
Freshwater Drum 28
Bowfin 26
Longnose Gar 45

 

Have You Caught an American Eel?

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is seeking information from the public on the catch or observation of American Eel in Tennessee.

If you catch an American Eel, please provide the following information:

  • Location — GPS latitude/longitude coordinates or precise directions to the site
  • Approximate length and weight
  • Date and time of day caught
  • How it was caught (gear)
  • Type of bait used
  • Photos

American eel (Anguila rostrata) is a fish deemed in need of management. It is illegal to take any fish, crayfish or turtle that is listed as threatened, endangered or in-need-of-management. If it is still alive please release the eel where it was caught. If it is no longer alive, please consider donating the specimen for age and growth studies. Please keep it on ice and place in a plastic bag in the freezer as soon as possible. Please call or email Pandy Upchurch at Pandy.Upchurch@tn.gov or (615) 781-6613 to arrange a time and place for pick up of the specimen.