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Tennessee Angler Recognition Program honors trophy fish


The Tennessee Angler Recognition Program (TARP) allows anglers to have their trophy fish recognized by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). Anglers of any age, who catch qualifying fish species that meet or exceed the qualifying lengths may apply. The TWRA Fisheries Management Division sends those accomplished anglers certificates featuring color reproductions of fish artwork by renowned wildlife artist Joseph R. Tomelleri.


The program is designed to acknowledge anglers for outstanding sportfishing accomplishments, encourage catch-and-release of trophy size fish, and provide the TWRA with information on large fish caught throughout the state.


TARP should not be confused with the State Record Fish program that recognizes anglers who catch a new state record fish (largest fish recorded for that species in the state.) Instead, TARP recognizes anglers who catch trophy-size fish that are not necessarily state records.


TARP features five levels of angler recognition. Anglers catching a fish that meets or exceeds the minimum "trophy" length requirements, listed in the table below, will receive a Trophy Fish Certificate (click for example). These certificates feature Joeseph R. Tomelleri artwork representing the species caught by the applicant and are suitable for framing. After anglers catch five trophy size fish in any combination, a Master Angler level I certificate and patch will be awarded at no cost to the angler. Anglers submitting five trophy size fish of different species receive a Master Angler level II certificate and patch.


The Master Angler III will be awarded to anglers submitting ten different trophy species. In addition to a certificate and patch, the angler will receive a "tackle package" courtesy of Bass Pro Shops-Sevierville, Tennessee.


The newest level, Master Angler IV, will be awarded to anglers submitting fifteen different trophy fish. The award will consist of a certificate, patch, and an engraved trophy.


To qualify:


The fish must meet or exceed the minimum lengths.

Persons 13 years of age or older must be licensed anglers and must provide their license number (TWRA#) on the application.

The fish must be caught legally (in accordance with Tennessee Sportfishing Regulations) in Tennessee waters, by sportfishing methods only (rod and reel or cane pole).

The length of the fish must be verified by either a witness or a photograph. The witness must complete the section on the application and/or the photo must be of the fish lying flat on top of or beside a flat measuring rule or tape and included with the application. Note that photographs of the angler holding their catch may be used in TWRA publications, including the Agency's website.

If you believe your catch exceeds the current state record for that species, you should immediately contact a TWRA Fisheries Biologist for positive identification of the fish and the appropriate application.


An application form may be obtained by contacting the TWRA Fisheries Management Division at (615) 781-6575. Complete one application for each fish you are registering. You may include more than one application form per envelope.


If the fish length is being verified by photo, the picture must be enclosed with the application. For the Trophy Fish Certificate(s) only, a $5.00 processing fee, per application, must also be enclosed and mailed within 90 days from the date of catch. Make check or money order payable to TWRA and mail, with the application(s), to the address at the bottom of the application. The processing fee is non-refundable for non-qualifying applications.