The State of Alabama is blessed with an abundance of freshwater fishing opportunities, including some of the best sportfishing in the country. Alabama has over a dozen river systems which have been impounded to create 563,000 acres of public reservoirs, including 1,438 miles of navigable waterways. In addition, there are 23 state managed State Public Fishing Lakes and 150,000 acres of private ponds that provide excellent angling for many species of fish.
The Angler Recognition Program addresses four separate objectives. The first goal is to help promote fishing in Alabama by establishing a method to publicly recognize anglers who catch large or trophy-sized fish from Alabama waters. Secondly, it will provide Fisheries Section biologists with valuable catch information for following fishery trends in the reservoirs they manage. The third objective is to establish a system for maintaining lake records for many of Alabama’s sportfish species. Finally, it will allow anglers an opportunity to have their catch information compiled, analyzed, and reported to them to help them discover when, where, and on what types of lures big fish are caught.
The freshwater sport fish caught in Alabama by hook and line have been listed by the Alabama Department of Conservation. The list includes fish since the 1950s. The certification process includes two witnesses of the weighing on certified scales; species identification by a state fisheries biologist or certified fisheries biologist; and a side-view photograph. Applications and rules are available as a PDF.
The Lake Record Certification will honor those individuals who catch the largest species of black bass (largemouth bass, spotted bass, smallmouth bass, or redeye bass) from each reservoir or lake, and will provide the Fisheries Section with useful statistics on the number of large fish caught from Alabama reservoirs. A detailed description of the rules and requirements can be found on the Lake Record Application. To be considered for a Lake Record, fish must meet the minimum weight requirements listed in the table, have two witnesses of the weighing on certified scales; species identification by a state fisheries biologist or certified fisheries biologist; and include a side-view photograph. The application must be completed and returned within three months of the catch.
Qualified anglers will receive a certificate commemorating their catch, will have their picture posted on www.OutdoorAlabama.com identified by the reservoir from which the fish was caught, and will be recognized in the B.A.I.T. Report of the Alabama of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division.
Master and Trophy Angler Certifications
The Master and Trophy Angler Certifications are intended to honor individuals who catch large sportfish from Alabama’s public waters. A detailed description of the rules and requirements can be found on the Master/Trophy Angler Application. To be eligible for recognition, fish must meet the minimum length or weight requirements listed in the table; and the application must be completed with a side picture of the fish next to a ruler and a picture of the angler with the fish. The application packet must be returned within three months of the catch.
Qualified anglers will receive a certificate commemorating their catch and a decal to be displayed on their boat or truck. Each angler will have their picture posted on www.OutdoorAlabama.com identified by the reservoir from which the fish was caught, and they will be recognized in the B.A.I.T. Report of the Alabama of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division.
In addition, a Black Bass Grand Slam plaque will be presented to any angler who is recognized for catching all four species of black bass included in this program. Recognition for each of the species may come from the Master Angler level, the Trophy Angler level, or any combination of the two.
Big Fish Catch Statistics
Catch statistics will be used to document angling trends and seasonal techniques used to catch large sportfish from Alabama reservoirs. This information will provide anglers with answers to questions related to depth of water, lure and color choices, moon phase, habitat types, and even the time of day when trophy fish are caught. Anglers will also learn how these trends can change from season to season, from lake to lake, and even from species to species.
Big fish catch statistics will be reported on a statewide, seasonal, or lake by lake basis in the annual B.A.I.T. Report, and will be presented in as much detail as possible, depending upon the information provided. However, specific locations of catches are not required. The catch statistics questionnaire is a part of the application.