The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has released the Vermont Master Angler Program 2022 Annual Report with 1,064 entries and 79 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.
2022 was another successful year for the program, with 1,064 entries approved, 299 of which were from youth anglers. There were also 79 Vermont Master Angler award recipients in 2022 -- 25 of which were youth anglers. Youth anglers have a slightly lower minimum qualifying length for each species.
“We were glad to see another successful year for the program in 2022, with the second highest number of entries since the program began in 2010,” said state fisheries biologist Shawn Good.
Good says the program provides the department with information on the quality of fishing throughout the state and helps promote the many diverse fishing opportunities that Vermont has to offer.
“One of the best things about this program is that it provides families with a little extra incentive to get outside and enjoy some quality time together on the water.”
St. Albans angler Derrick Farmer and his 11-year old son, Colby, agree. Participating for the first time in 2022, they found the Master Angler Program got them out fishing more often, kept their interest up and gave them goals to shoot for.
“This is such a cool program,” said Derrick. “We put in quite a bit of effort overall, but the Master Angler Program kept Colby engaged and wanting to learn how to target different species."
Colby was able to catch 7 different trophy fish species in 2022, exceeding the minimum number of 5 species required to earn his Master Angler pin. A walleye, a pumpkinseed sunfish, a northern pike, and a yellow perch were all caught while ice fishing, and Colby added three more species – lake trout, smallmouth bass and freshwater drum – during the 2022 open water fishing season.
“His goal this year is to do it again, but with different species than last year,” added Farmer.
To see the full 2022 Vermont Master Angler Program Annual Report, visit Fish and Wildlife’s website at: https://tinyurl.com/4uuwt6pv