DNR continues to see increasing number of Master Angler recipients

Contact: Lynne Thoma, 517-284-5838 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839
Agency: Natural Resources

March 7, 2018

young boy holding Master Angler lake whitefishIt was another great year for Michigan fishing, as 2,176 anglers representing 24 states and Canada submitted catches recognized in the state's Master Angler program - a significant increase over 1,807 Master Angler fish in 2016. The program, in place since 1973, recognizes large fish caught by recreational anglers and has more than doubled since 2014. 

Of the entries accepted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, 1,250 were in the catch-and-keep category while 926 were in the catch-and-release category. A total of 266 anglers received certificates for fish placing in the top five for both categories.    

Here is a breakdown of the most popular 2017 Master Angler entries by species:

  • 228 bluegill. 
  • 121 pumpkinseed sunfish.
  • 118 smallmouth bass.
  • 111 crappie.
  • 95 rainbow trout.
  • 93 freshwater drum. 
  • 90 channel catfish.
  • 62 cisco (lake herring).
  • 59 lake trout.

Master Angler entries for 2017 included two new state records, a 27-pound bigmouth buffalo caught on the River Raisin (in Monroe County) by Roy Beasley of Madison Heights and a 6.36-pound cisco (formerly known as lake herring) caught in Lake Ottawa (Iron County) by Michael Lemanski of Florence, Wisconsin.

Submissions for the 2018 Master Angler program already are being accepted, and will be until Jan. 10, 2019. To download an application, visit michigan.gov/masterangler. Anglers are encouraged to submit applications as they catch their fish, rather than holding applications until the end of the year.

Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

Lake Whitefish: Anglers can submit fish in one of two categories; catch-and-keep and catch-and-release. This lake whitefish was awarded in the catch-and-keep category to Michael Paoletti in 2017.

Redear Sunfish: Dolores Jones caught-and-released this redear sunfish through the ice in 2017 as part of the DNR's Master Angler program.