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First Fish Award
First Fish Awards are for budding anglers to remember their first catch. When you catch your first fish the Iowa DNR would like to commemorate the event with a frameable certificate of your accomplishment. Species, size of the fish or age of the angler is irrelevant only that it be the first fish that the angler has successfully landed.

Master Angler Award
The Master Angler Award, sponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, recognizes the accomplishment of anglers who catch memorable fish in Iowa.If you catch a fish eligible for a Master Angler award, fill out the entry blank on the opposite page. For many species, you may release the fish and still receive a Master Angler award by meeting the minimum length criteria. Length is measured from tip of the snout to the tip of the tail, except paddlefish, which are measured from the front of the eye to the fork in the tail and sturgeon which are measured from the snout to the fork in the tail. If there is some doubt about species identification, contact the nearest DNR personnel for verification. One witness must attest to the length of the fish to the nearest ¼ inch.  Fish must be taken with a valid Iowa fishing license and must be caught by legal methods conforming to provisions of the Iowa Code. A witness must verify fish size; any fish believed to be a new state record must be verified by a DNR Fisheries official. A Master Angler award certificate and car/boat decal will be sent for each qualifying entry. Silver and gold levels will also receive a medallion. In addition, your name and Master Angler fish will appear at the time your registration is processed on the Iowa DNR Flickr site linked at www.iowadnr.gov/masterangler.

Please Note:
Only one Master Angler award and one certificate will be given annually per fish species and only one lifetime award for each Silver and Gold Master Angler level.


Master Angler award levels:

  1. Master Angler - catch one fish meeting the minimum length criteria of any species listed below. You will be sent a certificate with picture (if one is submitted with entry form) and a car/boat decal.

  2. Silver Master Angler – catch five different species meeting the minimum length criteria listed below. You will receive a certificate, Silver Medallion, and a car/boat decal.

  3. Gold Master Angler - catch ten different species meeting the minimum length criteria listed below. You will receive a certificate, Gold Medallion, and a car/boat decal.

Master Angler Species Minimum Lengths:

 Bass (Largemouth) 20”  Northern Pike 35” 
 Bass (Rock) 8”  Paddlefish 40”
 Bass (Smallmouth) 20”  Perch (Yellow) 12”
 Bass (Spotted) 15”  Sauger 20”
 Bass (White) 17”  Saugeye 25”
 Bass (Wiper) 24”  Sturgeon (Shovelnose) 26”
 Bass (Yellow) 10”  Sucker (Blue) 27”
 Bowfin (Dogfish) 26”  Sucker (white or spotted) 18”
 Buffalo (Species) 32”  Sucker (northern hog) 16”
 Bullhead (Species) 15”  Sucker (Carpsucker) 22”
 Carp (Common) 32”  Sucker (Redhorse) 22”
 Catfish (Blue) 40”  Sunfish (Bluegill) 10”
 Catfish (Channel) 30”  Sunfish (Green) 10”
 Catfish (Flathead) 35”  Sunfish (Pumpkinseed) 9”
 Crappie (Black) 14”  Sunfish (Redear) 11”
 Crappie (White) 14”  Sunfish (Warmouth) 7”
 Freshwater Drum 25”  Trout (Brook) 15”
 Gar (Longnose) 45”  Trout (Brown) 18”
 Gar (Shortnose) 26”  Trout (Rainbow) 18”
 Goldeye/Mooneye 15”  Walleye 26”
 Muskellunge 45”