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2021 Master Angler Awards Recap

More than 400 entries across 26 species.

2021 Master Angler Awards Recap

Angler: Rene Coatta
Species: Channel Catfish
Length: 34 inches
Location: Red River, MB

2021 marked the 45th year of In‑Fisherman's Master Angler Awards Program, begun in the early years of the magazine's existence to reward anglers on their angling achievements, and as a way to let readers know about productive fisheries throughout North America. Master Angler Awards are available for 27 fish species categories or hybrids, and anglers can apply for fish caught within six geographic regions.

Awards are available for both released and kept fish, based on length and weight criteria, respectively. Anglers who enter a qualifying fish receive a Master Angler patch and species chevron patch. In each region, anglers who enter the largest fish of a species also receive a Master Angler certificate. Rules and the Master Angler Awards application can be found online at and in most issues of In-Fisherman magazine and annual guides.

At the conclusion of each year, 10 Master Angler Award recipients are randomly selected to receive a fishing prize package, courtesy of Plano and Frabill. Winners receive a Plano Guide Series Tackle Bag and Frabill Trophy Haul Net.

In 2021, there were 427 Master Angler Awards representing 27 species and hybrids. Entries were up about 10 percent over 2020's total of 390 entries. 2021 was a banner year for smallmouth bass awards, with 75 smallmouths qualifying, surpassing largemouth bass, which logged 45 awards. Crappies also had a strong showing with 47 awards, followed by channel cats (32), pike (27), muskies (20), and walleyes (24). Some notable big fish of 2021 included Peter Trumpower's 82-pound 4-ounce grass carp, caught on a Road Runner on 6-pound test line. Daniel Wielobob's 4.02-pound white crappie was just a hair shy of Pennsylvania's state record crappie. Father-son duo Joseph Willard Jr. and Joseph Willard III submitted a pair of catch-and-release 9-pound-plus largemouths.

Several impressive esocids were caught, including Luke Olejniczak's 54-inch muskie and Jim Golla's 50-inch Alaskan pike. Mark Alexander Foster's 34-inch walleye is impressive. Several channel cats stretched the tape to 37 inches, with several smallmouths over 22 in the pool of recipients.

Many anglers qualified for multiple awards. Leading the way, each with 7 awards, were Mark Alexander Foster, Bill Hegyi, and Danny Kurttila, with qualifying entries for 6, 7, and 6 species, respectively!

Click here for the full results.

Joseph Willard III, Largemouth Bass, 25 inches, St. Johns River, FL

Angler: Joseph Willard III,
Species: Largemouth Bass
Length: 25 inches
Location: St. Johns River, FL

Peter Trumpower, Grass Carp, 82 pounds 4 ounces, Lake Cable, OH

Angler: Peter Trumpower
Grass Carp
Weight/Length: 82 pounds 4 ounces,
Location: Lake Cable, OH

Jim Golla, Pike, 50 inches, Innoko River, AK

Angler: Jim Golla
Species: Pike
Length: 50 inches
Location: Innoko River, AK

Quinn Leonard, Chinook Salmon, 43.25 inches, Manistee River, MI

Angler: Quinn Leonard
Species: Chinook Salmon
Length: 43.25 inches
Location: Manistee River, MI

Robert Wasileski, Rainbow Trout, 26 Inches, Spinney Mountain Reservoir, CO

Angler: Robert Wasileski
Species: Rainbow Trout
Length: 26 Inches
Location: Spinney Mountain Reservoir, CO

Mike Lazers, Lake Trout, 42 inches, Cree Lake, SK

Angler: Mike Lazers
Species: Lake Trout
Length: 42 inches
Location: Cree Lake, SK

Tom Farrell, Muskie, 53.5 inches, Green Bay, WI

Angler: Tom Farrell
Species: Muskie
Length: 53.5 inches
Location: Green Bay, WI

Douglas Strickley, Hybrid Muskie, 48.25 Inches, Lake St. Clair, MI

Angler: Douglas Strickley
Species: Hybrid Muskie
Length: 48.25 Inches
Location: Lake St. Clair, MI

Alvie Sickle, Carp, 36 Inches, Monocacy River, MD

Angler: Alvie Sickle
Sepcies: Carp
Length: 36 Inches
Location: Monocacy River, MD

Rene Coatta, Channel Catfish, 34 inches, Red River, MB

Angler: Rene Coatta
Species: Channel Catfish
Length: 34 inches
Location: Red River, MB

Lyle Davis, Hybrid Striped Bass, 33 inches, Lum Pond, DE

Angler: Lyle Davis
Species: Hybrid Striped Bass
Length: 33 inches
Location: Lum Pond, DE

Liam Woods, Bluegill, 11.5 inches, farm pond, MI

Angler: Liam Woods
Species: Bluegill
Length: 11.5 inches
Location: farm pond, MI

Christian Hellmer, Smallmouth Bass, 22.25 Inches, Lake Simcoe, ON

Angler: Christian Hellmer
Species: Smallmouth Bass
Length: 22.25 Inches
Location: Lake Simcoe, ON

Rodney Provost, Crappie, 19 inches, Cranberry Marsh, WI

Angler: Rodney Provost
Species: Crappie
Length: 19 inches
Location: Cranberry Marsh, WI

Brad Pendy, Saugeye, 25.5 inches, Scioto River, OH

Angler: Brad Pendy
Species: Saugeye
Length: 25.5 inches
Location: Scioto River, OH

Aaron Motl, Brown Trout, 22 Pounds, 2.3 Ounces, Lake Michigan, WI

Angler: Aaron Motl
Species: Brown Trout
Weight: 22 Pounds, 2.3 Ounces
Location: Lake Michigan, WI

Joseph Willard Jr., Largemouth Bass, 24 inches, St. Johns River, FL

Angler: Joseph Willard Jr.
Species: Largemouth Bass
Length: 24 inches
Location: St. Johns River, FL

Todd Matera, Yellow Perch, 1 pound, 14 ounces, Lawrence Pond, MA

Angler: Todd Matera
Species: Yellow Perch
Weight: 1 pound, 14 ounces
Location: Lawrence Pond, MA

Tim Smith, Flathead Catfish, 48 inches, Kansas River, KS

Angler: Tim Smith
Species: Flathead Catfish
Length: 48 inches
Location: Kansas River, KS

Rick Runyan, White Bass, 17.5 inches, Kirwin Reservoir, KS

Angler: Rick Runyan
Species: White Bass
Length: 17.5 inches
Location: Kirwin Reservoir, KS

Alvin Tyner, Smallmouth, 21.5 inches, Dublin Lake, NH

Angler: Alvin Tyner
Species: Smallmouth
Length: 21.5 inches
Location: Dublin Lake, NH

Alexander Gauld, Smallmouth Bass, 22.5 Inches, Niagara River, NY

Angler: Alexander Gauld
Species: Smallmouth Bass
Length: 22.5 Inches
Location: Niagara River, NY

Mike Chen, Largemouth Bass, 26.5 Inches, Camanche Reservoir, CA

Angler: Mike Chen
Species: Largemouth Bass
Length: 26.5 Inches
Location: Camanche Reservoir, CA

Mike Strasser, Yellow Perch, 15 Inches, Boysen Res., WY

Angler: Mike Strasser
Species: Yellow Perch
Length: 15 Inches
Location: Boysen Res., WY

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