State Records Rules and Procedures
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources maintains state records for sport fish and awards a plaque to anglers whose catch exceeds the current state record or establishes a new species category. Positive identification by a fisheries biologist from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is mandatory for consideration of state record applications. Keep the fish whole until it is identified by the state and its weight is certified. In order to preserve the fish's weight, it is recommended to immerse the fish in ice water until it can be weighed. All possible state record fish will also be reviewed under these official state record rules.
Call 443-569-1398 to report a potential state record catch. Then, you must submit a state record application within two weeks of the date that you caught the fish.
- State record fish are determined by weight. Most fishing tackle shops do not have certified scales, so call ahead. Establishments that sell products by weight such as grocery stores, seafood retailers, and mailing/shipping outlets should have a certified scale and may be willing to help.
- A Maryland state record application form (link to application) listing the species, the certified weight, the date the fish was weighed, the witnessing scale operator's signature, and the name of establishment must be submitted to the Department of Natural Resources within two (2) weeks of when the catch was made.
- Fish that have been snagged, shot, gaffed, speared, scaled, or mutilated are not eligible. Gaffing is illegal in the Chesapeake Bay, but is allowed for securing and boating fish in ocean waters, after they have been brought to the side of the boat with rod and reel.
- Except for fish in the invasive species category, all fish must be legally caught with rod and reel during its open season. From the time that a fish strikes or takes a bait or lure, the angler must hook and fight the fish without the aid of any other person. The reel must be operated manually. Once the leader is brought to the rod tip, one or more people may help land the fish.
- Fish designated as an invasive species (currently Northern snakehead, blue catfish, and flathead catfish) must be killed and may be caught by all legal recreational fishing gear, including rod and reel, bow and arrow, spear, trotline, jugline, etc..
- Fish caught from privately-owned fee fishing waters are not eligible for record consideration.
- The fish must be considered trophy sized for the Department of Natural Resources to consider opening a new species category for state record recognition. Thresholds for trophy size are established by the department using the best data available to create a benchmark weight.
- It is the angler's responsibility to provide all of the information and a clear photograph of the catch.
- Fish are to be kept whole until inspected, in person, by a fisheries biologist from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Tournament Contact Information
Tournament Manager: Erik Zlokovitz
- Late day or weekend catches should be immersed in ice water until fish is officially weighed.
- The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reserves the right to investigate the methods used in catching the fish and the accuracy of measuring and weighing. It also reserves the right to reject any application.
Click here for the State Record Application.