Angler Recognition Program
Last Update: July 14, 2017
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 any of the 25 qualifying fish species that meet or exceed the qualifying lengths may apply. "See Minimum Trophy Fish Lengths" tab above. The TWRA Fisheries Management Division sends those accomplished anglers certificates featuring color ©copyrighted reproductions of fish artwork by renowned wildlife artist Joseph R. Tomelleri. You can view and purchase Tomelleri's artwork by visiting his website at: http://www.americanfishes.com/
The program is designed to acknowledge anglers for outstanding sport fishing 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.
Trophy Fish/Master Angler Certificates
TARP features five levels of angler recognition. Anglers catching one of 25 fish species that meets or exceeds the minimum "trophy" length requirements, listed in the tab at the top of the page (Minimum Trophy Fish Lengths), will receive a Trophy Fish Certificate (click for example) . These certificates feature ©Joseph 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-Kodak, 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 a trophy.
How Do You Qualify?
- The fish must meet or exceed the minimum lengths listed in the tab at the top of the page (Minimum Trophy Fish 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. Click here for more information
How Do You Apply
An application form may be obtained by clicking this link (Adobe Acrobat Reader required) or 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 each Trophy Fish application, a $5.00 processing fee, must 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.
Minimum Trophy Fish Lengths & Qualifying SpeciesSpeciesLength (inches)
Largemouth Bass22 Spotted Bass18 Smallmouth Bass20 Striped Bass40 Cherokee Bass (Hybrid)28 White Bass18 Yellow Bass (New Addition)11 Crappie (Black or White)14 Bluegill10 Redear Sunfish11 Rock Bass10 Sauger20 Walleye28 Yellow Perch11 Muskellunge40 Brook Trout10 Brown Trout26 Rainbow Trout24 Lake Trout28 Channel Catfish30 Blue Catfish34 Flathead Catfish34 Common Carp34 Freshwater Drum28
Measuring Your Fish
Lay the fish flat on the top of, or beside, a measuring rule or tape. Do not lay the rule over the curvature of the fish's body. Close the fish's mouth and squeeze the tail lobes together. Measure from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail to the nearest 1/4 inch.
Summary of Tennessee's Angler Recognition Program Entries
SPECIES QUALIFYING LENGTH TOTAL SUBMITTED LARGEST (inches) WATERBODY COUNTY Black Crappie 14 344 19.75 Melton Hill Knox Blue Catfish 34 649 61.00 Nickajack Marion Bluegill 10 170 14.25 Center Hill Dekalb Brook Trout 10 411 19.00 Obey River Clay Brown Trout 26 106 35.00 S. F. Holston River Sullivan Channel Catfish 30 74 44.25 Lake Barkley Stewart Cherokee Bass 28 68 38.75 Ft. Loudoun Blount Common Carp 34 136 51.10 Private Lake Washington Flathead Catfish 34 178 54.75 Chickamauga Hamilton Freshwater Drum 28 178 39.00 Guntersville Marion 39.00 Nickajack Hamilton Lake Trout 28 37 34.75 Watauga Lake Carter Largemouth Bass 22 524 29.00 Private Lake Haywood 29.00 Lake Sherwood Cumberland 29.00 Parksville Lake Polk Muskellunge 40 75 53.40 Melton Hill Anderson Rainbow Trout 24 91 34.50 Watauga River Carter Redear Sunfish 11 250 14.50 Center Hill DeKalb 14.50 Lake Ocoee Polk Rock Bass 10 139 14.50 Duck River Bedford Sauger 20 37 24.00 Watts Bar Loudon Smallmouth Bass 20 947 28.00 Cherokee Jefferson Spotted Bass 18 104 23.25 Parksville Polk Striped Bass 40 248 50.00 Melton Hill Anderson Walleye 28 55 34.00 Cordell Hull Jackson White Bass 18 54 24.00 Mississippi River Shelby White Crappie 14 646 18.75 Chickamauga Hamilton Yellow Perch 11 127 16.00 Chilhowee Lake Blount
TARP Angler Photos
Tennessee Master Angler Certificates and Patch Samples