For over 40 years MassWildlife has sponsored the Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program (FSA) designed to recognize anglers who have caught exceptional freshwater fish from waterbodies that are open to the public.
Over the years, the program has changed and evolved to reflect the interests of anglers, to promote fishing and to recognize exceptional anglers.
The Program consists of several elements:
- Annual recognition of adult and youth anglers who catch fish of a certain minimum size in 22 species categories
- Annual recognition of adult and youth anglers catching the largest fish in 22 species categories
- Annual recognition of anglers who catch the greatest variety of fish species in the Program
How the Program Works:
Sportfishing Pin Awards - Anglers receive bronze pins for catching fish of certain minimum weight requirements for 22 species. Anglers must have their catch weighed at a certified scale from any location and submit an affidavit and photo of their catch to the Sportfishing Awards Coordinator. Additionally, anglers who catch the largest fish in each category receive a gold pin and plaque commemorating their accomplishment. Traditionally, the "gold pin winners" are honored every February at a special Sportfish Awards Ceremony held in Worcester. Nearly 500 pins are awarded annually. Beginning in 2005, a youth category was added to recognize anglers 17 years and younger for their accomplishments.
Angler of the Year Award -- Beginning in 2003, the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife began recognizing the angler who submitted the most species qualifying for "pin fish" during the calendar year. This part of the program is designed in part to promote awareness of some of the Commonwealth's underutilized species and to recognize an angler's ability to catch a wide variety of large fish species. Some anglers become specialists, studying the habits of specific species and learning how to target them, while others become generalists seeking out all the species that the state's waters have to offer. This award is also a way to recognize that the motivations for angling are as diverse as the anglers themselves! The Angler of the Year is also honored along with the gold pin winners at the Sportfishing Awards Ceremony.
Record Breaking Catch?
Anglers who believe they have broken a state record must present their fish in its entirety (whole) to qualified fisheries personnel at MassWildlife Field Headquarters in West Boylston or at any of the five MassWildlife District offices .
ATTENTION ANGLERS--In 2006, changes were implemented in the Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program. The major changes included:
- Addition of a youth category and fish weights for anglers 17 and under
- New minimum weights for pin fish in the adult category*
- Allowing anglers to weigh their catch on any certified scale at any location
- Affidavits made available online and agency offices
- Clarification of affidavit submission requirements, fish identification procedures
A complete set of Program rules are found on the Sportfishing Awards Affidavit that anglers should download and fill out for submission in the Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program.