Iowa’s master angler program celebrating Iowans catching big fish had 530 qualifying entries during its inaugural year in 2011. Bluegill entries lead the way with 69 fish, followed closely by yellow bass with 65 entries.
The master angler program replaced the big fish awards last year. It was modeled after similar programs in other states that recognize anglers who catch a memorable fish. Anglers who fill out the entry form and submit an electronic photo will receive a commemorative certificate of accomplishment with the submitted photo.
Anglers who catch five different qualifying species qualify as a silver master angler and those who catch 10 different qualifying species qualify as a gold master angler.
“We had one angler who caught seven different qualifying species in one year which was really impressive,” said Joe Larscheid, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Bureau.
“This program has a lot of potential to grow in future years and we hope the anglers embrace it and promote it through their participation.”
Anglers caught the most entries, 111, in May, followed by 99 entries in June. Qualifying fish were caught during each month of the year.
As far as water bodies go, farm ponds contributed 101 entries followed by the Iowa Great Lakes with 99, the Mississippi River with 55, and the Des Moines River with 26.
More details and entry forms are available on the master angler webpage: