Enter your catch in the Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program
What you need
To enter your catch in the Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program, you'll need a freshwater fishing license. Kids 17 or younger can get in on the fun by entering their catch in the Youth Sportfishing Awards Program.
All fish must be caught on a hook and line (except for carp, which can be caught with spears or bow and arrow) in Massachusetts waters that are open to the public. Fish caught in private or sporting club ponds aren’t eligible for awards. The only exception to this rule is public waters that are closed on a seasonal basis, like the Wachusett and Quabbin Reservoirs.
- If you want to keep your fish: enter the catch-and-keep category. The fish must be weighed on a certified scale and can't be returned live to the water. See minimum weights and rules for the catch-and-keep category. Note: Minimum weights differ for the adult and youth programs.
- If you want to release the fish: enter the catch-and-release category. The fish must be measured where you caught it with a standard measuring device, photographed, and immediately released. See minimum lengths and rules for the catch-and-release category.
When you think you've caught a trophy fish, follow these steps:
1. Take a photo of your catch
Take a clear, close-up, side-view photo of your fish. If you plan to release your fish, take this photo right away. If you’re submitting a catfish or bullhead, you should also take a full body dorsal (back) photo of the fish.
2. Weigh or measure your fish
If you’re keeping your fish, you need to weigh it. If you want to release it, you need to measure its length and then release it immediately.
Weighing your fish
You can weigh your fish anywhere that has a certified scale, which you can find about here. No matter where you weigh your fish, someone else must see you weigh it. Many bait and tackle shops have certified scales and will weigh your fish for free.
Measuring your fish
Photograph your fish against a standard measuring device. The fish’s entire body and its measurements should be clear in the photo. All measurements will be rounded to the nearest ¼ inch.
3. Submit your catch
Once you’ve weighed or measured and photographed your fish, submit the photo of your fish with the correct form.
How to enter
Sportfishing Awards Program
Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife
1 Rabbit Hill Road
Westborough, MA, 01581
All submissions should be postmarked by Jan. 10 of the following year.
- Bronze pins—If you submit a fish that meets the minimum weight or minimum length requirements for an eligible species, you’ll get a bronze pin for that species.
- Gold pins—If you submit the largest or longest fish in an eligible species category, you’ll get a gold pin and a plaque. You’ll also be honored in a MassWildlife awards event.
- Angler of the Year awards are given to anglers who catch the most species that meet either length or weight requirements. You’ll also be honored in a MassWildlife awards event. The categories are:
- Adult Catch & Keep Angler of the Year
- Youth Catch & Keep Angler of the Year
- Catch & Release Angler of the Year
Want to scope out the competition? MassWildlife updates their list of current sportfishing leaders March 1 each year so you can see what the biggest catches are so far.
Think your trophy fish may have broken a Massachusetts freshwater fish record? Bring your champion fish to the MassWildlife field headquarters in Westborough or to one of the 5 MassWildlife district offices. Fish submitted must be dead.