Looking for your next big fish adventure? Check out the new Master Angler Program map from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources; this user-friendly, interactive tool displays information on all state-record and Master Angler catches – showing you where thousands of other anglers have had success.
“Not only is the new Master Angler Program map helpful to anglers, but it also benefits our biologists by providing information submitted by anglers that will help us better understand our fisheries and help inform management decisions,” said Seth Herbst, the DNR’s Aquatic Species & Regulatory Affairs Unit manager.
The map offers clear instructions for navigation, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
- When choosing fish species in the left-hand list to turn on different map layers, click the corresponding fish icon rather than the species name.
- The individual points on the map show catch locations that were provided by anglers, and some are generalized to river drainage or lake center.
Master Angler Program
For over 30 years now, the DNR’s Master Angler Program has helped promote statewide fishing opportunities and provides anglers with valuable information on where and when big fish have been caught in Michigan waters. It also gives details on the successful fishing methods, baits and lures used to catch them.
The program has changed over the years, and currently includes more than 45 species for which anglers can be recognized for their memorable catch. Some of those species are grouped on the interactive map. For example, the crappie category includes both white crappie and black crappie.
Each year, the DNR produces a Master Angler patch that is awarded to all entries meeting the established minimum length for each species and other program requirements.
- Applications must be submitted via the Master Angler online form.
- Include at least one photo clearly showing the entire fish measured on a legible standard measuring device.
- Measure the fish from 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 nearest 1/8 inch.
- No more than one entry per species of the same size fish will be accepted.
- All fish must be taken by legal Michigan sportfishing methods, during the open season, and in Michigan waters open to the public.
- The DNR reserves the right to reject any application if the entry does not meet the established criteria.
- No more than one patch per species will be awarded to each angler per year.
Master Angler applications for fish caught between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 are accepted until Jan. 10 of the following year. Get full program details at Michigan.gov/MasterAngler.