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The Game Fish Award Program

Unlocking the Prestige of Rhode Island's Game Fish Award

In the vibrant angling community of Rhode Island, the Division of Fish & Wildlife, under the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), annually celebrates the prowess of anglers through the distinguished Game Fish Award program. This accolade is reserved for those who have skillfully captured freshwater or saltwater game fish of considerable size within the state's waters, showcasing their angling expertise and dedication to the sport.

Pathway to Eligibility: Anglers aspiring to this honor must secure their catch in Rhode Island's waters using approved methods such as rod and reel, tie-up, or handline. Recognizing the diverse practices within the angling community, the program accommodates both 'catch and release' enthusiasts and those preferring harvest. For 'catch and release,' a photograph with a hand-scale and ruler is required, whereas harvested catches must be weighed at an official station. Prospective awardees are then tasked with completing the Game Fish / State Record Award Application, accessible through RIDEM's comprehensive online portal.

Award Criteria and Distribution: The program is uniquely structured to bestow one award per game fish species annually, ensuring a competitive yet inclusive environment. This coveted award is conferred upon the angler who lands the largest specimen in each category, based on strict size requirements. Recipients of the Game Fish Award receive their accolades via mail in the spring following their remarkable catch, adding an element of anticipation and excitement to the competition.

Rhode Island State Record Award: A Prestigious Recognition for Anglers

Achieving Recognition in Rhode Island's Angling Records

The Division of Fish and Wildlife, a cornerstone of Rhode Island's environmental stewardship, diligently maintains a comprehensive record of state game fish catches. This effort culminates annually in the RI State Record Award, a prestigious acknowledgment for anglers who manage to set new benchmarks in the size of game fish species caught within Rhode Island waters.

Application Process: To contend for this esteemed award, anglers must ensure their catch is legally obtained through permissible fishing methods. The crucial next step involves presenting the catch to an official weigh-in station, where it undergoes a thorough identification, measurement, and weighing process. This must be executed on a certified, digital scale recognized by the state of Rhode Island, ensuring the utmost accuracy and integrity of the record.

The station operator plays a pivotal role in the application for the State Record, as they are tasked with completing and signing the Game Fish/State Record Award Application. This document is vital for the official recognition of the catch and its potential entry into the state records.

Recognition and Awards: Anglers who achieve a state record will receive their State Record Game Fish Awards in the spring following the year of the catch. This timing allows for the meticulous verification and processing of records, ensuring each record holder receives the honor they duly earned.

For those aiming to etch their names into the annals of Rhode Island's fishing history, detailed information regarding official fish weigh-in locations and the necessary application forms are available at the Division of Fish and Wildlife's official website. This resource is designed to guide anglers through the application process, providing them with the necessary tools and information to pursue this distinguished accolade.

Rhode Island's First Fish Award Program

Celebrating Young Anglers: The First Fish Award Program

Rhode Island's Division of Fish and Wildlife champions the next generation of anglers through its inspiring First Fish Award Program. This initiative is specially designed to commemorate the milestone of catching one's first fish, aiming to foster a lifelong passion for fishing among children. It's a wonderful way to celebrate the achievement of young anglers who have successfully caught a fish in Rhode Island's waters, using approved methods such as rod and reel, tie-up, or handline.

Application Process: No official weigh-in is necessary to participate in this program, making it uniquely accessible. To apply for the First Fish Award, the necessary steps include documenting the catch and filling out the application form. This form is readily available for download from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) website, specifically under the Division of Fish & Wildlife's section dedicated to children's freshwater fishing.

Award Timing: The First Fish Awards are processed bi-annually. The processing times are strategically scheduled: one session occurs in the fall, and another just before the opening day of the fishing season in the following year. This timing ensures that young anglers receive recognition for their achievement in a timely manner, encouraging continued interest and participation in fishing activities.

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.

Rhode Island Saltwater Fishing Award Programs

Game Fish Award Qualifying Criteria

Black Sea Bass

  • Minimum Length: 20 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 4 pounds

Blue Shark

  • Minimum Length: 72 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 80 pounds

Bluefin Tuna

  • Minimum Length: 90 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 450 pounds

Bluefish

  • Minimum Length: 32 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 14 pounds

Bonito

  • Minimum Length: 25 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 8 pounds

Chub Mackerel

  • Minimum Length: 14 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 1 pound

Cobia

  • Minimum Length: 48 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 50 pounds

Cod

  • Minimum Length: 38 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 20 pounds

False Albacore

  • Minimum Length: 24 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 5 pounds

Grey Triggerfish

  • Minimum Length: 17 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 3 pounds

Haddock

  • Minimum Length: 30 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 10 pounds

Hickory Shad

  • Minimum Length: 18 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 2 pounds

King Mackerel

  • Minimum Length: 19 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 3 pounds

Mackerel

  • Minimum Length: 15 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 1 pound

Mahi Mahi (Common Dolphinfish)

  • Minimum Length: 30 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 8 pounds

Mako Shark

  • Minimum Length: 90 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 300 pounds

Pollock

  • Minimum Length: 36 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 15 pounds

Scup

  • Minimum Length: 13 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 2.5 pounds

Spanish Mackerel

  • Minimum Length: 24 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 4.5 pounds

Squeteague (Weakfish)

  • Minimum Length: 24 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 4.5 pounds

Striped Bass

  • Minimum Length: 48 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 50 pounds

Summer Flounder

  • Minimum Length: 25 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 6 pounds

Swordfish

  • Minimum Length: 70 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 170 pounds

Tautog

  • Minimum Length: 23 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 10 pounds

Wahoo

  • Minimum Length: 50 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 40 pounds

White Marlin

  • Minimum Length: 72 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 70 pounds

Winter Flounder

  • Minimum Length: 16 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 3 pounds

Yellowfin Tuna

  • Minimum Length: 56 inches
  • Minimum Weight: 125 pounds
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