Colorado Parks and Wildlife recognizes licensed anglers who catch exceptionally large fish through three separate programs, Record by Weight, Record by Length (released only) and Master Angler.
State Records by Weight
This is the oldest of Colorado's fishing recognition programs. For each of 49 different species of fish, this program tracks the heaviest fish ever caught in the state of Colorado. If an angler catches a large fish that they believe may have broken the weight record in its species, there is a series of steps that must be taken to have the fish certified as a new state record. Verified state record applicants will receive a lapel pin.
View records and information on qualifying from the
Records by Weight page.
State Records by Length
Prior to January 2019, the fish that were considered for the state’s Length Record Program were through our Master Angler program. The Master Angler program had minimal length verification requirements to verify the size of the fish before it was released. Due to the lack of requirements, the validity of some catches was brought into question.
Consequently, as of January 2019 our Records by Length program will be a stand alone program where specific steps must be followed for record submission and acceptance. Unlike the Record by Weight program, these fish MUST BE RELEASED in order to qualify. However, northern pike and smallmouth bass caught in waters west of the Continental Divide will only be recognized for the State Record by Weight category. As a partner in the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program and San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program, CPW encourages anglers to catch and keep northern pike and smallmouth bass in most waters on the Western Slope of Colorado.
Master Angler Awards Program
Due to statewide demand for a fishing recognition program, the Master Angler program was initiated. There are 43 categories of species recognized in this program, and there can be more than one master angler award given in each category every year.
See the Master Angler Program for more information.