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New York Angler Achievement Awards Program

Have you caught a big fish lately? If so, you may qualify for an award!

Each year, New York State's lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams produce large numbers of trophy-sized fish. The DEC Angler Achievement Awards Program recognizes exceptional catches in several categories.

Award Categories

Annual Award

The Annual Award recognizes the anglers who caught the three heaviest fish of the year for 42 different species. Each fish entered must meet or exceed the minimum qualifying weights. The winning anglers are awarded an Angler Achievement Award lapel pin. The angler entering the heaviest fish in each species category also receives a Certificate of Achievement suitable for framing.

2022 Annual Award Winners
Annual Award Winners 2011-2022 (PDF)

Catch and Release

The Catch-and-Release awards commend the actions of anglers who return their qualifying catch to the water. This category is limited to 21 major gamefish species. Qualifying anglers are awarded a distinctive 2023 Catch-and-Release award decal.

2022 Catch-and-Release Award Winners
Catch-and-Release Award Winners 2011-2022 (PDF)

State Record

If you catch a really big fish, you may have a new State Record. The State Record Program recognizes those anglers who break current New York State records for any of the 42 eligible fish species. Anglers receive a custom engraved plaque, an Angler Achievement Award lapel pin, and a Certificate of Achievement.

How To Participate

To participate in New York State's Angler Achievement Awards Program, simply follow these guidelines:

  • Fish must be taken by angling in New York State waters in accordance with New York State fishing regulations.
  • Fish must meet the minimum qualifying weight or length for that species and the entered category.
  • Fish entered in the Annual Award and State Record categories must be weighed on a certified scale by the owner of the scale or an employee, and must be witnessed by at least one other person.
  • Fish submitted as a potential State Record entry must be identified by a DEC biologist or a designee.
  • Qualifying fish must be entered on an official entry form or facsimile.
  • All entries must be accompanied by a clear, sideview photograph of the fish or the angler with the fish.
  • Entry forms must be received by DEC's Bureau of Fisheries within 30 days of the catch.

For more specific information on the rules, see Rules for Entry. Download the Entry Form (PDF) here or you can obtain one from any DEC Regional Fisheries Office, or by writing to: NYSDEC, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233-4753.

Remember, if you catch a trophy fish in New York State, DEC wants to hear about it!

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