PLEASE NOTE: Due to the high volume of applications received for the Master Angler program as well as other issues, anglers may currently expect a six month or more delay in receiving their patch and certificate. We apologize for this inconvenience and are working to improve the turn-around time for processing applications.
It is the angler’s responsibility to review the rules and requirements prior to submitting an application. Entries for fish caught between January 1 and December 31, 2020 must be submitted no later than January 10, 2021.
NEW FOR 2020: Master Angler application submissions will only be available via the online form below. No printed or emailed forms will be accepted. With our new program we hope to begin processing 2020 applications in March after our 2019 applications have been finalized.
Since January 1, 2019, at least one photo clearly showing the entire fish measured on a legible standard measuring device is required. No more than one entry per species of the same size fish will be accepted.
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.
- Minimum Entry Lengths/Weights and Current State Records
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 inch.
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 2018-2019 final reports - these can also be found in the Master Angler Database above:
- 2019 Catch and Keep Final Report
- 2019 Catch and Release Final Report
- 2018 Catch and Keep Final Report
- 2018 Catch and Release Final Report
How it benefits our state
The Master Angler Program helps promote fishing as a popular sport in Michigan and provides anglers 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 catch a big fish.
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. If you think you've caught a state record fish, please contact a DNR fisheries biologist as soon as possible. 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.