In Michigan, the Master Angler program recognizes fishermen and their big fish.
The Department of Natural Resources Master Angler program has been around since 1973. In 2015, however, several changes have been made to the program.
You Now Need a Tape Measure
The biggest change is the elimination of the minimum weight requirement. Master Angler awards will now be given solely on length.
“Eliminating the weight requirement for part of the Master Angler program really helps to streamline both the application and the verification process – especially as anglers will no longer have to find a certified scale to have their catch weighed,” said Lynne Thoma, the program’s coordinator. “We hope this change will make it even easier for anglers to have their large fish recognized.”
Two categories of catches are recognized in the program. These are catch-and-keep and catch-and-immediate-release. Recognition in both categories will be awarded based on a minimum length for each species on the DNR list.
The catch-and-keep category used to be determined by the weight of the fish. That has been changed to a length requirement only.
Pics, Or It Didn’t Happen
The DNR also made changes to the submission procedure. A witness signature is no longer required, and each application must have a color photo submitted with it. Anglers can submit applications in both hard-copy or electronic formats.
State-record fish are still recognized by weight and still require identification by a DNR fisheries biologist.
Fishermen whose catch meets the minimum standard will receive a Master Angler patch. Only one patch will be awarded for both categories, and no more than one patch per species will be awarded to each angler per year.