NEW FOR 2019: Some rules have changed, starting January 1, 2019. No more than one entry for fish species of the same size will be allowed and at least one submitted photo must show the fish being measured. See the 2019 application below for more information.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the high volume of applications received for the Master Angler program, anglers should expect an 8+ week turnaround for processing.
The Master Angler program includes more than 50 species for which you can compete for honors. The Master Angler Patch is awarded to all entries meeting the established minimum length for Catch-and-Keep and Catch-and-Immediate-Release entries. Recognition certificates are awarded to anglers entering the top five fish in each category. Please note there is no longer a weight requirement for Catch-and-Keep entries.
All fish must be taken by legal Michigan sportfishing methods, during the open season, and in Michigan waters OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. We reserve the right to reject any application if the entry does not meet the established criteria. Only 1 patch will be awarded for both Catch-and-Keep AND Catch-and-Immediate-Release entries. No more than 1 patch per species will be awarded to each angler per year.
How to submit an entry
The deadline for submitting an entry is January 10, 2020.
In order to download the application, you must have the most recent version of Adobe Reader on your machine.
The application includes detailed rules and instructions for submission. Each application must have a color photo submitted as well. Electronic applications and photos may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mailed applications and photos may be sent to: Fisheries Division, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, PO Box 30446, Lansing, MI 48909. There is a 25 MB limit when sending attachments via email.
Measuring your catch
Measure your fish from the tip of the nose (or lower jaw) to tip of the tail in a straight line. Do NOT measure in a curve around the body from nose to tail. Measure to the closest 1/8″. Tail and jaw should be pinched together.
The Master Angler database (Catch and Keep, Catch and Release Final Reports)
We maintain an on-line database that contains information on all the Master Angler final reports. This database can be a valuable source of information, allowing you to investigate where big fish are caught in the state, the times of year during which catch rates are highest, and techniques useful in pursuing trophy fish.
Here are the 2017 reports - these can also be found in the Master Angler Database above:
How it benefits our state
Not only does the Master Angler Program help promote fishing as a popular sport in Michigan and boost the DNR's image with the angling public, it also provides Fisheries Division with valuable information on where the big fish in our state can be found, when is the best time to fish for them and what's the most successful fishing method, bait and/or lure.
Thanks to the Master Angler Program, not only does Michigan serve as an angling mecca for the dedicated angler, people come from across the globe to fish in our state and try to win themselves an award.
- Minimum Entry Lengths/Weights and Current State Records
State records are recognized by weight only. To qualify for a state record, your fish must exceed the current listed state record weight and identification must be verified by a DNR fisheries biologist. All potential state record fish must be weighed on a commercial scale (grocery store, meat market, etc.) and record the business name where scale is located. If possible, attach weight slip.
How to Submit an Entry
To apply for a state record, fill out the State Record application form and send it to: Fisheries Division, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, PO Box 30446, Lansing MI 48909.