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Rules for Certifying a State Record Fish

  1. The fish must be caught in Virginia waters with rod, reel, line, and hook held in hand, or with archery tackle where legally permitted. The angler must identify the specific waters from which the fish was caught.
  2. Although more than one angler may participate in catching a potential state record fish, only one applicant will be considered as the official record holder.  Anglers should be aware, however, that world records are only granted that are hooked and fought by one individual without assistance.
  3. A Department employee must witness the official weighing. Only the weight observed by the Department employee will be used to certify the fish. The fish must be unfrozen, in whole condition and be made available to the Department employee for a thorough examination. The fish may also be made available to the department employee for further examination if deemed necessary by the Department representative. View Department contact information for certifying a State Record.
  4. The species of the fish must be confirmed by a Department Fish Biologist who must inspect the fish in whole condition. (This can be accomplished subsequent to the weighing if the Department witness is not a fish biologist.)
  5. An application must be submitted within 60 days of the catch. A clear, side view photograph of the fish should accompany the application.
  6. Weighing scales must be appropriate to the size of the fish and be certified for accuracy by government agencies or qualified and accredited organizations within the past 12 months. Agencies and organizations that have certified weight sets for verifying scale accuracy and submit verification procedures with associated documents to DWR will also be considered as accredited for weighting a potential state record fish. Fish under 25 pounds must be weighed on a scale capable of weighing to the ounce. Fish over 25 pounds should be weighed on scales having no greater graduations than one-half pound. Whenever scales of 8 ounce graduations are used, the fish weight will always be rounded down to the nearest one-half pound.
  7. Any potential state record fish found to contain artificial food or nonfood items in the stomach will not be recognized as a new record.
  8. No fish caught within the boundaries of, or directly influenced by, a public or private aquaculture facility or private fee fishing area will be recognized as a state record. Fish raised in hatchery facilities, stocked as fry or fingerlings by the Department of Wildlife Resources, grown in natural environments, and recognized in the State Record Program are exempt from this rule.
  9. If there is reasonable doubt regarding any aspect of the application it may be rejected. The State Record Fish Committee reserves the right to interpret any rule based on the intent of that rule.
  10. One appeal to the State Record Fish Committee’s decision may be made within 60 days of notification. The appeal must be in writing to: Chairman, State Record Fish Committee, P.O. Box 90778, Henrico, VA 23228; Telephone: (804) 305-8940