Record Fish Within Reach Of Many
Galen Jons, Fisheries Biologist
In Texas, records of the largest fish caught are kept by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department through the Angler Recognition Awards program, based at the Austin headquarters of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Following is a description of the seven different award categories available.
State Record - Rod & Reel: Recognition for catching the largest fish of a species caught from Texas public waters by rod and reel angling.
State Record for Private Waters: Recognition for catching the largest fish of a species caught from Texas private waters by rod and reel angling.
State Record - Unrestricted: Recognition for catching the largest fish of a species caught from Texas public waters by any legal means other than rod and reel angling.
Water Body Record: Recognition of catching the largest fish of a species for a water body. Texas public waters only (lakes, rivers, etc.).
Catch & Release Award: Recognition for the catch and release of a trophy class fish. Contact our office for a list of the minimum sizes of each fish that qualify for this award.
Big Fish Award: Similar to above, recognition for catching a trophy class fish, but not released. Contact our office for a list of the minimum sizes of each fish that qualify for this award.
First Fish Award: Recognition of the first fish caught by anglers of any age.
Outstanding Angler: Catch does not meet requirements of other award categories but deserves recognition.
The first four record categories require fish to be weighed on a certified scale within three days of being caught. The fish must weigh more than the current record and photographs must be submitted. Fish species identification is also required.
Applications for State Record fish need to be notarized. We also require a tissue sample from potential state record white, striped, and hybrid striped bass for proper identification. Contact our office or the Austin office (800-792-1112 or 512-389-8037) for details.
Certification of a record really isn't that difficult. If you catch a large fish that you think may be a water body record, or even a state record, give us a call. We will do our best to determine if you have a record fish.
Catching a record fish in the Big Country isn't as hard as it may seem. In fact, last year, during severe drought and generally poor fishing conditions, twenty record fish were caught in the Big Country. Five of those records were for largemouth bass, from lakes Sweetwater, Graham, Clyde, Winters, and Cal Young Park. Many water body records remain open. We can provide a listing of Big Country records and which lakes have no records.
Come by our office and pick up a list, or stop by our booth at the Big Country Outdoors Show during the first weekend in February. Details of the Recognition program can also be found on our website: www.tpwd.state.tx.us
Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.
5325 N. 3rd
Abilene, TX 79603
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