Master Angler Award

“Research is the highest form of adoration”
― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


As most of you know I have been working my ass off to try and get my Master of Angler award from the State of Virginia, but apparently the fishing gods hate me-I haven’t caught a citation since I started my attempt at this. Truth be told, I’m using the photo method because I am not going to kill a fish just to have it weighted, even though I probably would have already had a couple rainbow trout and smallmouth citations if I would have done it this way. Eh, what can I say, I am a catch and release angler to the bone.


But with that all being said, I have come up with some pretty useful ways of doing research using statistics off of the VDGIF website. If you do not know this, VDGIF keeps track of every citation fish that is mailed in, what waterway they were caught in, their length, and if applicable what the fish weighted. For people like myself that have never Gar fished in my life, having all of this information available is invaluable. A prime example of this is the following spread sheet I done on all of the trout citations for last year (the spread sheet does not include lakes, ponds, private waters, or reservoirs).



River Brook Brown Rainbow
Piney River 1 0 0
Cripple Creek 16 1 82
Bullpasture 17 0 7
Roanoke River 38 0 17
Northwest 2 0 3
Runnett Bag 1 0 0
Smith 26 0 1
Tinker 16 0 7
Hawksbill 4 0 2
North 19 0 0
Little Indian 1 0 0
NF Shenandoah 6 0 0
Goose 1 1 1
Barbours 15 0 0
NF Holston 3 0 0
Pigg 5 0 12
Jennings 15 3 0
Big Wilson 9 0 0
Jackson 11 0 2
South 13 0 4
Crooked 32 19 16
Robinson 8 0 1
Mill 3 0 4
Back 10 0 1
Stoney 4 0 3
Tye 4 2 0
Big Tumbling 23 7 18
Craig 2 0 0
Cowpasture 4 0 0
Dan 1 0 0
Rockfish 1 0 0
SF Shenandoah 1 0 0
MF Holston 1 1 1
Potts 0 3 1
Big Stoney 0 0 12
SF Holston 0 0 2
Cedar 0 0 9
Maury 0 0 1
Little 0 0 1
Dismal 0 0 1
Big Reed Island 0 0 1
Total Citations 313 37 210



So by using this information; if you are wanting a rainbow or brook citation and are not willing to pay to fish then the Roanoke River is clearly your best chance. For browns your best choices are Jennings and Potts Creek. However there are anomalies like the SF of the Holston, the South River in Waynesboro, and Mossy Creek; rather no citations are being reported or this information is being skewed for some unknown reason.


However following the same lines as I have done with the trout citations, a person could create a spread sheet for each of the following year’s citations on any species of trophy fish here in Virginia and have a good idea where to find these trophy fish. But there is one tiny problem, even if you are to narrow down where these fish are, you must do your research on how to catch these fish. I promise you, eventually your due diligence will pay off.


P.S. Another good source of information for citations are the local fishing shops. Look at photo boards, talk to the locals.


Master Angler Awards

Master Angler Awards PinThe admirable ranking of “Master Angler” is bestowed upon individuals with talent enough to land trophy-size fish of different species. When an angler catches 5 trophy-size fish of different species (see Trophy Freshwater Fish Size Chart), he/she is automatically recognized as a Master Angler I. There are 4 successive levels of Master Angler recognition. To ascend in rank the angler must catch 5 different trophy-size fish for each level of recognition. At each level the angler will receive a different Master Angler certificate and patch. There is no separate application to fill out. Our computers count the number and type of trophy fish each angler registers and lets us know when someone qualifies.

  1. Master Angler I = 5 trophy fish of different species
  2. Master Angler II = 10 trophy fish of different species
  3. Master Angler III = 15 trophy fish of different species
  4. Master Angler IV = 20 trophy fish of different species


Trophy Fish Size Chart

Species Weight Length
Largemouth Bass 8 lbs. 22
Smallmouth Bass 5 lbs. 20
Crappie 2 lbs. 15
Rock Bass 1 lb. 12
Sunfish 1 lb. 11
White Bass 2 lbs. 8 oz. 18
Striped Bass 20 lbs. 37
Hybrid Striped Bass** 8 lbs. 24
White Perch 1 lb, 4 oz. 13
Channel Catfish 12 lbs. 30
Blue Catfish 30 lbs. 38
Flathead Catfish 25 lbs. 40
Rainbow Trout 4 lbs. 22
Brook Trout 2 lbs. 16
Brown Trout 5 lbs. 25
Chain Pickerel 4 lbs. 24
Muskellunge 15 lbs. 40
Northern Pike 6 lbs. 30
Walleye 5 lbs. 25
Sauger* 2 lbs. 18
Yellow Perch 1 lb. 4 oz. 12
Gar 10 lbs. 40
Bowfin 10 lbs. 30
Carp 20 lbs. 34
Freshwater Drum 6 lbs. 24
  • * Clinch and Powell rivers only
  • ** Claytor and Flannagan reservoirs only

2 thoughts on “Master Angler Award

  1. I appreciate the catch and release approach. That is my was here in NY as well. I usually keep saltwater, but the fresh water live for next time. Good luck with your awards. My friend William from Eastern Trophies is a guide down there somewhere. I wonder if he has any, or even tries. I think he is all out for small mouth bass and musky trips, so probably not.


  2. Like you, I began collecting trophy fish citations in Virginia to try and work my way through the Master Angler designations. Also, like you, I am doing it on the fly. I started last year, when I finished graduate school. Needless to say, it is not quite as easy as I thought. After 18 months of active pursuit, I only just logged my fifth different species. I am starting to think about branching out to go after species in other parts of the state. I have registered trophy rainbow trout, Brook trout, largemouth, sunfish,and crappie. Email me if you would like to compare notes. I’d be happy to share some of my more productive spots with another catch and release angler.


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