Maryland Fishing Challenge

Cancellation Notice of the Maryland Fishing Challenge Finale at Sandy Point State Park

Dear Maryland Fishing Challenge Participants:

The Maryland Fishing Challenge Program will not host a finale event this year as we have before during the Maryland Seafood Festival at Sandy Point State Park, and no prizes other than the Angler Award certificates will be awarded.

The Maryland Seafood Festival will be held September 10 & 11 at Sandy Point, but the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will not be able to sponsor a contest finale and $25,000 cash giveaway due to budget constraints. The popular Maryland Fishing Challenge Angler Award Program will continue to recognize anglers whose catches meet or exceed the official Angler Award sizes for species in five award categories—Atlantic, Catch and Release, Chesapeake, Invasive, Nontidal. Over 1,500 awards have been awarded so far this season.

We wish to thank Bass Pro Shops, Under Armour, Bill’s Outdoor Center, Costa, Tracker Boats, and various Maryland fishing Guides and Captains and other sponsors who provided steadfast support by donating prize merchandise and fishing trips for the finale over the years. We hope to be able to continue working with these sponsors in the future to promote the wholesome pleasure of fishing.

The Maryland State Fishing Record Program continues to generate excitement. Since September 2015, the Department has awarded five plaques to new record holders for catches, most recently for a remarkable 94-pound cobia caught by nine-year-old Emma Zajdel off of Ocean City in July. The Department has also certified two new white perch and two snakehead records since last September.

The important message is to keep fishing. You could be the next angler to catch an Angler Award or state record fish.

Maryland Fishing Challenge LogoThe Maryland Fishing Challenge is a free, year-round tournament sponsored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fishing and Boating Services, recreational fishing organizations, and generous donors across the state.

The purpose of the Maryland Fishing Challenge is to showcase Maryland as a great destination for sport fishing, with affordable, accessible, diverse and high quality fishing opportunities for Maryland's residents and visitors alike, and to help increase the number of youth and families participating in the sport of fishing. Recreational fishing offers opportunities for families and individuals to spend quality time together, enjoying the wonderful aquatic natural resources which Maryland has to offer.

Here's a link to the complete Maryland Fishing Challenge rules, for eligible species and official award centers check out the links in the upper right.

The Maryland Fishing Challenge features three components:

  1. Angler Award Achievers -

    Anyone fishing legally in Maryland can catch and record an award-winning fish by landing any of more than 60 eligible species in three categories above a certain minimum size. If you catch a fish that meets or exceeds the official award size, simply submit your catch to any of the many official award centers (tackle shops) to receive your entry ticket and instructions on how to complete the required online registration process. You will receive your award certificate within 45 days. Catch and Release anglers​ may participate by bringing a clear photograph of their fish to an official award center. Lay the fish on a tape measure to photograph so that the species and size can be verified. Submit your photo and the signature of a witness at an official award center to receive your entry ticket.

  2. Invasive Species Award Component -

    The Invasive Species Award Component recognizes anglers for reporting their harvest of certain eligible invasive fish species. "Invasive" describes a species that, when introduced into an ecosystem, aggressively establishes itself and has the potential to negatively affect native plants, animals or habitat. Currently there are 3 invasive fish species which naturally reproduce in Maryland or migrate into Maryland waters: Blue Catfish, Northern Snakehead, and Flathead Catfish. These are the species eligible for Invasive Species awards and there are 3 ways for anglers to enter: 1) Angler Award - fish meeting minimum award size are eligible; 2) State Record - fish exceeding the existing state record weight are eligible; 3) Angler's Log - fish harvested at any size are eligible. Multiple entries are allowed, but each fish can only be entered once.

  3. Maryland Fishing Challenge (MFC) Youth -

    Youth anglers will be selected from members of the Maryland Youth Fishing Club (MYFC) who submit a post to Youth Angler's Log. There will be a quarterly random drawing from the entries and the winners names will be posted on line. Visit the MYFC for additional information on how to become a member.

    Be sure to visit the Maryland Youth Fishing Club website for additional information on youth fishing.

By participating in the Maryland Fishing Challenge, you agree to be mentioned by name in the media (i.e. newspaper, television, radio, internet, etc.) and photographed for use during Fishing Challenge promotions. You must provide your contact information (and those of your parent or guardian, if you are under 18 years of age) and your fishing license (if applicable) at the time of the inspection.

For more information about the award program contact Keith Lockwood at For additional information regarding the Maryland Fishing Challenge contact Erik Zlokovitz at