For Immediate Release - February 16, 2010

State Fish and Game Officials Present 2009 Sport Fishing Awards This Weekend

Residents of Nantucket and Attleboro set two new state records

BOSTON - February 12, 2010 - At ceremonies in Worcester this weekend, state fisheries officials will honor anglers - including two new state record holders - who reeled in the biggest fish of 2009 from Massachusetts lakes, ponds, streams, and coastal waters.

Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Commissioner Mary Griffin will participate in ceremonies honoring more than 90 of state's top freshwater and saltwater anglers at the Eastern Fishing & Outdoor Exposition at The DCU Center in Worcester on Saturday and Sunday. Commissioner Griffin will join Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) Director Wayne MacCallum to present the annual Freshwater Sportfishing Awards at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 13. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) Director Paul Diodati will recognize winners of the Saltwater Fishing Derby on Sunday, February 14, at 1:30 p.m.

"Massachusetts is home to spectacular sportfishing grounds - from mountain lakes and streams to tidal rivers and estuaries along the coast," said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles. "We urge anglers of all ages and skills to enjoy all the fishing the Commonwealth has to offer."

"With all of the special outdoor spaces in Massachusetts from the Berkshires to the seacoast, we encourage adults and children alike to take up fishing and other outdoor sports," Commissioner Griffin said. "We congratulate this year's anglers and hope others will be inspired to get out and fish this year with their family and friends."

Ty Warren of Attleboro set a state record when he caught a 61-pound 3-ounce dolphin fish at Vetch Canyon in August. Matthew Grimes of Nantucket also set a state record when he caught a 482-pound 8-ounce porbeagle shark, the heaviest catch honored.

Among the 56 fish enthusiasts to be honored tomorrow is Roy Leyva of Plymouth, who was named MassWildlife's 2009 Angler of the Year. The award recognizes the sportsman or woman who weighs in the largest number of species that qualify under the Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program. Leyva landed 12 different species including pickerel, brown trout and broodstock salmon. Leyva caught all but one of those fish species in water bodies in southeastern Massachusetts.

MassWildlife's Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program awards bronze pins to adult and youth anglers who catch fish of certain minimum weight requirements in 22 species categories, and gold pins and commemorative plaques to anglers who catch the largest fish in each category.

Of the 25 winners in the adult gold pin category, the heaviest freshwater fish landed in 2009 included a 30-pound 9-ounce carp caught in Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester by Jonathan Beauchesne of Spencer. The second and third heaviest fish were reeled in at Onota Lake in Pittsfield: a 22-pound 11-ounce northern pike caught by Bryan Kopala of Adams, and a 20-pound 6-ounce channel catfish caught by Mark Bailey of Wilbraham.

Of the 25 winners in the youth gold pin category (age 17 and under), the heaviest fish caught were by Kody Perrier of Easthampton who caught a 29-pound 15-ounce carp in the Connecticut River in Easthampton, Jake Burke of Pittsfield who caught a 19-pound 11-ounce northern pike in the Housatonic River in Sheffield, and Summer Gaudreau of Belchertown who caught a 17-pound 4-ounce lake trout at the Quabbin Reservoir.

Click here for a full list of all the Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program winners .

On the saltwater side, 43 anglers - including Warren and Grimes - will be honored for their catches during the 2009 Saltwater Fishing Derby. The heaviest fish caught was a 624-pound mako shark by Men's Division fisherman Taylor Sears of Scituate.

Junior Division anglers also reeled in big fish. Chris Coache of New Bedford caught a 53-pound 9-ounce striped bass and Tony Canha of Vineyard Haven caught a 43-pound 11-ounce wahoo.

In the Women's Division, Helena Kirschenbaum of Oak Bluffs caught a 42-pound 6-ounce striped bass and Karen TenEyck of New York caught a 16-pound 2-ounce haddock.

The DMF will also present one Skillful Skipper award to a boat captain who had at least three derby-winning fish caught aboard their vessels last year. The 2009 Skillful Skipper is Captain Dave Niemi who pilots the Captain John & Son boat out of Plymouth. Niemi also won the 2007 and 2008 Skillful Skipper awards.

To qualify for the freshwater award program, fish must be weighed in on a state- or town-certified scale. Saltwater entries must be caught by hook and line and weighed in at DMF-certified weigh stations.

MassWildlife, DMF, and the Massachusetts Environmental Police are hosting exhibits at the Eastern Fishing & Outdoor Exposition at Worcester's DCU Center, which began February 11 and ends February 14. 

DFG is responsible for promoting the enjoyment and conservation of the Commonwealth's natural resources. DFG carries out this mission through land preservation and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and game species, and enforcement of the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. DFG promotes enjoyment of the Massachusetts environment through outdoor skills workshops, fishing festivals and other educational programs, and by enhancing access to the Commonwealth's lakes and ponds.