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Rhode Island's Annual Game Fish Award Program

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) Division of Fish & Wildlife annually celebrates the achievements of anglers through the Game Fish Award program. This initiative is designed to acknowledge both freshwater and saltwater anglers who have made significant catches in terms of size within Rhode Island waters. Eligibility for this award is strictly for fish caught by legal means including rod and reel, tie-up, or handline in waters that are publicly accessible without any form of charge, fee, special permission, or exclusive membership (this excludes private ponds limited to club members or their guests).

To participate, anglers have two options to verify their catch in alignment with the program's commitment to supporting both catch-and-release and harvest practices. They can either document their catch with a photograph, ensuring a hand-scale and ruler are visible for size verification, or they can physically bring their catch to an officially designated weigh station. Following this, the angler is required to fill out the Game Fish / State Record Award Application, which can be found at the official RIDEM website.

The program stipulates a limit of one award per angler per year for each qualifying species, based on meeting or exceeding the minimum size requirements specified. Recognitions under the Game Fish Awards are distributed in the spring season of the year subsequent to the catch.

Rhode Island State Record Fishing Awards

The Division of Fish and Wildlife actively documents and acknowledges state records for each game fish species caught within Rhode Island's jurisdiction. For an angler's catch to qualify for the RI State Record, it must be obtained through legal fishing methods such as rod and reel, tie-up, or handline, exclusively in Rhode Island waters that are publicly accessible. This access stipulation excludes any catch from privately managed ponds designated for the exclusive use of club members and their guests, irrespective of the absence of an entry fee.

To pursue the RI State Record Award, the angler must ensure their catch is brought to an official weigh-in station for verification. The process involves the fish being accurately identified, measured, and weighed on a certified digital scale approved by Rhode Island standards. It is imperative that the weigh station operator completes and signs the Game Fish/State Record Award Application to formalize the submission.

Recipients of the State Record Game Fish Awards are honored in the spring of the year following their record-setting catch. This recognition serves not only as a personal achievement for the angler but also contributes to the historical records of fishing in Rhode Island, celebrating exceptional catches that set new benchmarks for the fishing community. To access more information on official weigh-in stations and to retrieve the necessary application forms, anglers are directed to visit the official RIDEM website.

Celebrating Young Anglers: Rhode Island's First Fish Award Program

Rhode Island's First Fish Award Program is a heartwarming initiative designed to celebrate the milestone achievement of children catching their first fish within the state's waters. This program is open to young anglers who have successfully caught a fish using any legal fishing method, including rod and reel, tie-up, or handline. One of the most appealing aspects of this award is the streamlined application process, which notably does not require an official weigh-in, making it more accessible and focused on the joy of fishing rather than the size of the catch.

To participate, the application for the First Fish Award can be easily accessed and filled out. This document is available for download, ensuring that every young angler has the opportunity to be recognized for their entry into the world of fishing. The awards are thoughtfully processed twice annually—once in the fall and again prior to the opening day of the fishing season in the following year.

Completed Applications

Please send all completed applications to: RIDEM- Fish & Wildlife, 1B Camp E-Hun-Tee Place, Exeter, RI 02822, for verification and processing. For questions about any of these award programs, email kimberly.sullivan@dem.ri.gov or call (401) 539-0037.

Guide to Qualifying for Rhode Island's Game Fish Awards

Rhode Island's Game Fish Award Program recognizes remarkable catches in both freshwater and saltwater categories, setting specific length and weight criteria for various species. This guide outlines the qualifying lengths and weights required for anglers to achieve recognition within this prestigious program, excluding the First Fish Awards, which are dedicated to celebrating the achievements of young anglers on their first catch.

Freshwater Game Fish Qualifications

  • Black Crappie: Minimum 12 inches or 0.9 pounds
  • Bluegill: Minimum 9 inches or 0.5 pounds
  • Brown Bullhead: Minimum 13 inches or 0.99 pounds
  • Carp: Minimum 32 inches or 29 pounds
  • Chain Pickerel: Minimum 25 inches or 4 pounds
  • Landlocked Atlantic Salmon: Minimum 16 inches or 2 pounds
  • Largemouth Bass: Minimum 22 inches or 6 pounds
  • Northern Pike: Minimum 34 inches or 10 pounds
  • Pumpkinseed: Minimum 8 inches or 0.3 pounds
  • Smallmouth Bass: Minimum 19 inches or 4 pounds
  • Trout (Brook, Brown, Golden Rainbow, Rainbow): Varied lengths from 16 to 20 inches and weights from 2 to 3 pounds
  • White Catfish: Minimum 20 inches or 4 pounds
  • White Perch: Minimum 15 inches or 1.6 pounds
  • Yellow Perch: Minimum 12 inches or 0.85 pounds

Saltwater Game Fish Qualifications

  • Black Sea Bass: Minimum 20 inches or 4 pounds
  • Blue Shark: Minimum 72 inches or 80 pounds
  • Bluefin Tuna: Minimum 90 inches or 450 pounds
  • Bluefish: Minimum 32 inches or 14 pounds
  • Bonito: Minimum 25 inches or 8 pounds
  • Chub Mackerel: Minimum 14 inches or 1 pound
  • Cobia: Minimum 48 inches or 50 pounds
  • Cod: Minimum 38 inches or 20 pounds
  • False Albacore: Minimum 24 inches or 5 pounds
  • Grey Triggerfish: Minimum 17 inches or 3 pounds
  • Haddock: Minimum 30 inches or 10 pounds
  • Hickory Shad: Minimum 18 inches or 2 pounds
  • King Mackerel: Minimum 19 inches or 3 pounds
  • Mackerel: Minimum 15 inches or 1 pound
  • Mahi Mahi (Common Dolphinfish): Minimum 30 inches or 8 pounds
  • Mako Shark: Minimum 90 inches or 300 pounds
  • Pollock: Minimum 36 inches or 15 pounds
  • Scup: Minimum 13 inches or 2.5 pounds
  • Spanish Mackerel: Minimum 24 inches or 4.5 pounds
  • Squeteague (Weakfish): Minimum 24 inches or 4.5 pounds
  • Striped Bass: Minimum 48 inches or 50 pounds
  • Summer Flounder: Minimum 25 inches or 6 pounds
  • Swordfish: Minimum 70 inches or 170 pounds
  • Tautog: Minimum 23 inches or 10 pounds
  • White Marlin: Minimum 72 inches or 70 pounds
  • Winter Flounder: Minimum 16 inches or 3 pounds
  • Yellowfin Tuna: Minimum 56 inches or 125 pounds

Rhode Island Fishing Awards Programs

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