DNR continues to see swell in Master Angler numbers

Dolores Jones caught and released this redear sunfish through the ice in 2017 as part of the DNR's Master Angler program. (Michigan DNR)

According to the Michigan DNR, 2,176 anglers representing 24 states and Canada submitted catches recognized in the state’s Master Angler program, a significant increase over 1,807 Master Angler fish in 2016.

The program, in place since 1973, recognizes large fish caught by recreational anglers and has more than doubled since 2014.

According to a news release Wednesday, March 7 by the DNR, of the entries accepted by the agency, 1,250 were in the catch-and-keep category while 926 were in the catch-and-release category. A total of 266 anglers received certificates for fish placing in the top five for both categories.

A breakdown of the most popular 2017 Master Angler entries by species:228 bluegill

  • 121 pumpkinseed sunfish
  • 118 smallmouth bass
  • 111 crappie
  • 95 rainbow trout
  • 93 freshwater drum.
  • 90 channel catfish
  • 62 cisco (lake herring)
  • 59 lake trout

Master Angler entries for 2017 included two new state records – a 27-pound bigmouth buffalo caught on the River Raisin (Monroe County) by Roy Beasley of Madison Heights, and a 6.36-pound cisco (formerly known as lake herring) caught in Lake Ottawa (Iron County) by Michael Lemanski of Florence, Wis.

Submissions for the 2018 Master Angler program already are being accepted and will go until Jan. 10, 2019. To download an application, visit michigan.gov/masterangler. Anglers are encouraged to submit applications as they catch their fish, rather than holding applications until the end of the year, the DNR said.

Categories: News