ST.JOHNSBURY — The Fish and Wildlife Department recently released the Vermont Master Angler Program 2019 Annual Report with 726 entries and 49 Master Angler Award recipients.

The program recognizes the achievements of anglers who catch trophy-sized fish from Vermont waters, and celebrates the clean water and healthy habitats that allow these fish to survive and grow to exceptional sizes.

The program is a length-based program that sets “trophy sized” benchmarks for 33 eligible fish species. While these trophy-sized fish are a challenge to catch, they are attainable for anglers that develop the necessary knowledge and skills.

Anglers catching a fish exceeding the minimum qualifying length in any of the 33 species categories receive a certificate commemorating their catch. Their names and catches are also included in the Vermont Master Angler Annual Report posted annually on the Vermont Fish and Wildlife website. Anglers demonstrating the skill necessary to catch multiple species that all exceed the minimum qualifying lengths in the same calendar year are recognized as “Vermont Master Anglers” and receive a lapel pin at the end of the year. To qualify for the annual Vermont Master Angler Pin, an angler must submit qualifying entries for five or more species within a calendar year.

In 2019, the program approved 725 entries, 246 of which were from youth anglers. Of the 49 Vermont Master Angler award recipients, 13 were youth anglers. Youth anglers have a slightly lower minimum qualifying length for each species.

“We’re thankful for the many anglers that participate in the Vermont Master Angler Program,” said state fisheries biologist Jud Kratzer. “This program provides us with information on big fish throughout the state, and it helps us to promote the many and diverse fishing opportunities that Vermont has to offer.

“One of the best things about it is that it provides some families with a little extra incentive to get outside and enjoy some time together on the water,” he added.

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