Maryland’s new fishing award program gets its very first winner. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) FishMaryland Master Angler Award is for anyone who can catch ten trophy-sized fish, all different species, in 2019.
The first to do it is Gary Simpson of Nottingham, Baltimore County. Since January 1, Simpson has caught award-sized chain pickerel, largemouth bass, white perch, walleye, striped bass, crappie, smallmouth bass, blue crab, red drum, and common carp.
“It takes a lot of talent and determination to achieve the Master Angler Award and we are very excited for Mr. Simpson,” DNR Recreational Fishing Outreach Coordinator Erik Zlokovitz said.
DNR launched the FishMaryland challenge as “a fun way to explore year-round recreational fishing” and to highlight the state’s diverse fishing opportunities.
There isn’t just an award for Master Anglers; the program recognizes other milestones too. Each award comes with a certificate and color-coded sticker. The milestones anglers can shoot for are listed below:
Angler Award: For catching three different species, meeting the minimum length, the angler receives a yellow sticker.
Expert Angler Award: For catching five different species, meeting the minimum length, the angler receives a red sticker.
Master Angler Award: For catching ten different species, meeting the minimum length, the angler receives a black sticker, like Simpson can now sport.
Any angler fishing legally for 60 approved species in Maryland is eligible for the awards program. To see how you can report a trophy-sized fish, click here.
-Meg Walburn Viviano