Friday, November 26, 2010

Vermont Master Angler Program

I have mentioned the Vermont Master Angler Program in a few previous posts and I thought I might explain it a little bit. If an angler in Vermont catches any of 33 different species and meet the minimum length requirement of that species they can submit a photo to the program. Once a biologist has looked over the photo and has accepted it the angler gets a certificate stating that they have caught a Master Class fish.  If an angler catches 5 different species in the program in the same year they are awarded a pin and the title of Master Angler for that year. Pretty cool stuff.
Master Class white sucker- a blast on the fly!
The program was begun earlier this year with several goals in mind. Primarily it is a way to showcase anglers that have caught exceptional fish in Vermont. The program also takes over from the old trophy fish records program which had become obsolete. It helps biologists understand where larger specimens of many of these species are located and also gives them a better idea of the sizes of larger individuals in the population.  The diversity of fishes and fishing in Vermont are better showcased in this program. Hopefully more anglers will see the value in less frequently targeted species thanks to this program.
Shawn Good with a nice fly rod caught MC bowfin
 I do have to give a big thanks to Shawn Good the fisheries biologist who really got this program jump started. Shawn saw the need in Vermont for this kind of program and did a lot of the footwork to get it going. Not only has he done a great job with this program he is also the biologist who is in charge of the state's Esocid program. Pike and musky have a great champion in this biologist. Shawn is also a great angler in his own right. I have been pretty fortunate to have spent a couple of days on the water with him and look forward to many more in the future.
46" Longnose Gar- crushed the 36" minimum for Master Class
 Where do I fit into the program? Well, as soon as I heard about it I became a bit obcessed. Honestly, completely obcessed. I started going through photos from earlier in the year to see if I already had some Master Class fish. Then I started targeting fish that I knew I could meet the minimum length of. It didn't take long before I had the 5 I needed for the Master Angler pin. After submitting my longnose gar I had it all wrapped up and qualified for the first pin ever awarded. To say that I was pleased about that is an understatement!
Master Class brown trout: check out this pic in the Fish and Wildlife reg book
At this point I have now submitted 32 entries in 11 different species- all on a fly. I have already set up a tentative game plan to get the remainder. I would like to get all 33 if I can and I intend on doing as many as I can on the fly. And check out the Vermont Hunting and Fishing Regs book this year- I am in there with a real nice brown for the Master Angler Program.  Shawn Good got the second pin awarded. So far this year there are only a total of 4 people who have earned the pin. 
Kevin with his Master Class lake trout
I can't wait to get my 2010 pin! They won't be made until the end of the program year (Jan 10) and only enough will be made for the folks who have earned them. Good stuff!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Those are some beauts! Found your blog on OBN. I like it and will follow along.

    The Average Joe Fisherman