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Vermont Master Angler Program 2023 Annual Report Released

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has released the Vermont Master Angler Program 2023 Annual Report with 989 entries and 72 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 34 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 34 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.

2023 was another successful year for the program, with 989 entries approved, 246 of which were from youth anglers.  There were also 72 Vermont Master Angler award recipients in 2023 -- 21 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 2023,” 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. 

“As one of the biologists who run this program, it makes me really happy when I hear from anglers telling me that the program has helped motivate them to try fishing for different species, or that it has generated a lot of excitement for their kids, trying to catch their next Master Angler.  One of the great things about this program is that it gets families outside and enjoying some quality time together on the water.”