CHEYENNE — Some trophies are more slippery than shiny, but they deserve the same recognition. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is launching a new Master Angler program to recognize anglers who catch trophy-sized game fish in Wyoming waters. Trophy fish represent the largest 5 percent of the 24 eligible species.
Participating in the program is easy, even if catching a trophy is challenging. An angler who lands a fish that meets or exceeds the minimum qualifying length from snout to the tip of a pinched tail must take and submit a side-view photograph of the fish. Include in the photograph an object, like a ruler or a coin, to validate the length. Submit the photo, angler information and details about the species and where it was caught on the Game and Fish website.
“Some of the benchmarks are going to be relatively easy for anglers who know how to fish for a specific species, like rainbow trout in Seminoe Reservoir. But others will be much more of a challenge because they are less common in Wyoming and grow slowly here, like sunfish,” said Mark Smith, Game and Fish assistant fisheries management coordinator.
The trophy length requirements were set based on historical Game and Fish sample data. Qualifying fish represent Wyoming’s 95th percentile in length for each species.
Catching one trophy-sized fish earns the title of master angler, a species-specific decal sticker and recognition on the Game and Fish website. Five different trophy-length species designates someone as a trophy angler, carrying the same prizes as a master angler and a commemorative medallion. Those who catch 10 different trophy species get the title of ultimate angler and earn the trophy angler prizes as well as a special prize package.
Some fisheries in Wyoming are managed for trophy sizes while others are for high catch rates and species diversity. Anglers can use information from the Master Angler webpage to see which waters have yielded trophy fish.
“The challenge information gives us an indication of where and how people are using the resource and their satisfaction with the fishing,” Smith said. “And, other anglers can use the information on the Master Angler webpage as a resource to learn where to catch large fish of a particular species.”
Fish must be legally caught in Wyoming after June 1, 2019, to be eligible for the Master Angler program. To submit an entry or for measurement tips and a list of masters, visit the Master Angler website.