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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.
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.
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.
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. Find somewhere nearby to weigh your catch.
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.
Once you’ve weighed or measured and photographed your fish, submit the photo of your fish with the correct form.
Complete either the online Catch-and-Keep Affidavit or the online Catch-and-Release Affidavit. The online form allows you to upload the photo of your fish.
Fill out the Catch-and-Keep Affidavit or the Catch-and-Release Affidavit, print a photo of your fish, and mail the documents to:
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.
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.