RUTLAND, Vt. – The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has released the Vermont Master Angler Program 2020 Annual Report with 1,035 entries and 63 Master Angler Award recipients.
Vermont’s wealth of waters and abundant fish populations provide many opportunities to experience outstanding fishing. The Vermont Master Angler 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 Vermont Master Angler 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 can 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 unique one-of-a-kind 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.
2020 was a record year for the program, with 1,035 entries approved, 385 of which were from youth anglers. Since the program began in 2010, the highest number of approved entries previously was 827 in 2017. There were also 63 Vermont Master Angler award recipients in 2020, 23 of which were youth anglers. Youth anglers have a slightly lower minimum qualifying lengths for each species.
“We saw fishing participation increase substantially in Vermont last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as people found themselves with more free time,” said state fisheries biologist Shawn Good. “And it seems that a lot of new and established anglers discovered and participated in the Master Angler Program.
“Not only does the program provide the department with information on big fish throughout the state, but it also helps promote the many diverse fishing opportunities that Vermont has to offer. One of the best things about this program is that it provides some families with a little extra incentive to get outside and enjoy some quality time together on the water.”
The 2020 Vermont Master Angler Program Annual Report is on Fish and Wildlife’s website at: https://vtfishandwildlife.com/fish/fishing-events-and-programs/master-angler-program .