July 01, 2010
WATERBURY, VT – The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department recently unveiled a new angler incentive program to encourage fishing participation among children and adults as well as gather information on big fish caught in Vermont. The new “Master Angler Program” recognizes the accomplishments of anglers who catch trophy-sized fish from Vermont waters and celebrates that these fish have survived and grown to such large size.
“Vermont has a wealth of waters with abundant fish populations that provide many opportunities to experience outstanding fishing,” said Shawn Good, one of the state fisheries biologists who helped design the program.
The program provides a list of 33 fish species that can be caught by hook and line. Minimum length benchmarks are established for each species. Fish exceeding those benchmarks are considered “trophy quality” and may be entered. There are two different length lists -- one for adults and one with lower minimum lengths for youths.
Anglers catching one fish species exceeding the established minimum length will receive a certificate of achievement for catching a trophy fish. The names of these anglers and information about their fish will also be included in the annual Master Angler Program report on the Vermont Fish and Wildlife website. An angler who catches five qualifying fish of different species within the same calendar year will be recognized as a Vermont Master Angler and will receive a lapel pin at the end of the year.
“Many anglers focus their efforts on just one or two species,” continued Good. “They may only fish for trout or bass. We hope that by highlighting and profiling Vermont’s many opportunities to catch a wide variety of fish species, the Master Angler Program will encourage anglers to learn more about our fish, their habits and their habitats, and then apply that knowledge to try to catch them.”
Unlike the previous "annual record fish program" that only recognized one fish of each species caught each year, this program allows many anglers to participate and receive recognition. By going to a length-based system, the Vermont Master Angler Program also allows and encourages the entry of "trophy" fish that are caught and released alive.
Vermont Fish and Wildlife is providing entry forms at their district offices and state fish hatcheries, but anglers are encouraged to submit their Master Angler entries and a photo of the fish on the department’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com/masterangler.cfm).
State Record Fish Program Changes
The Vermont State Record Fish Program that has recognized the largest fish of various species caught in Vermont waters since 1969 also is being improved. Several new state fish records were established in recent years, including a 38.22-pound muskellunge, a 35.2-pound lake trout and a 3.53-pound black crappie.
“There are two significant changes to the State Record Fish Program,” said state fisheries biologist Jud Kratzer. “First, there is a defined list of species eligible for submission as state record entries. The eligible species are the same 33 species that are eligible for the Master Angler Program. Second, a department fisheries biologist must inspect the fish to verify the species and examine for evidence of cheating.”
Entries must still be made on a printed entry form provided by the department from their offices, at hatcheries and as a printable file on the department’s website.
While the newly established Master Angler Program allows for entries of caught and released fish, the State Record Fish Program still requires that the fish be harvested so that an accurate weight can be recorded on an inspected scale.
To learn more about the Vermont Master Angler Program, visit Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s website at www.vtfishandwildlife.com/masterangler.cfm. To view Vermont’s record fish, visit http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/Fishing_frmRecords.cfm
Source: Department of Fish and Wildlife
Last Updated at: July 01, 2010 14:36:24