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Awards and Recognition

the four pins anglers may win: Shellfish Specialist, Warmwater Angler, Ocean Angler, and Coldwater Angler - click to open in new window

California is home to a great diversity of freshwater and saltwater finfish and shellfish. To encourage anglers to pursue the tremendous variety of fishing experiences California has to offer, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has developed the Fishing Passport program to assist and guide anglers through a lifetime of fishing adventures.

The California Fishing Passport is the centerpiece of the program. This booklet helps anglers track all of their California fishing experiences by providing a place to record the date, place, and other information for each type of fish caught with state waters. Each catch is verified through a witness signature or a photo of the catch, and the passport is stamped by an official stamping agent.

Earning new stamps in your passport identifies you as a versatile, adventurous angler who is adept at successfully tackling new fishing opportunities throughout the state. To recognize the achievements of participating anglers, the California Fishing Passport program provides different levels of awards and recognition as anglers catch new species and gather more stamps. Basically, the more stamps you earn, the more awards and recognition you become eligible to receive! Read more about our award winners.


Warmwater Fishing (Inland)

Warmwater Fishing Award

Warmwater Fishing Achievement and Recognition

View a printer-friendly summary of information about this award (PDF)

Warmwater fish can be found throughout California in urban and rural streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, and reservoirs, and can provide excellent sport and good table fare. These fish have not only introduced millions to the sport of fishing, they continue to provide a lifetime of angling challenges for many!

Warmwater anglers may qualify for three different awards:

  • California Fishing Passport Warmwater Angler
    Catch at least 6 different qualifying fish.

  • California Fishing Passport Accomplished Warmwater Angler
    Catch at least 12 different qualifying fish.

  • California Master Warmwater Angler
    Catch at least 25 different qualifying fish.

Which warmwater fish qualify?

Specifically:

  • American shad
  • Black bullhead
  • Black crappie
  • Blue catfish
  • Bluegill
  • Brown bullhead
  • Channel catfish
  • Common carp
  • Flathead catfish
  • Green sunfish
  • Largemouth bass
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Redear sunfish
  • Redeye bass
  • Sacramento perch
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Spotted bass
  • Striped bass
    landlocked or
    freshwater-caught only
  • Tilapia
  • Tule perch
  • White bass
  • White catfish
  • White crappie
  • White sturgeon
    freshwater-caught only
  • Warmouth
  • Yellow bullhead
  • Yellow perch
 


Only species listed in the California Fishing Passport as defined above and caught in California during 2006 or afterwards qualify for Warmwater Fishing awards.

What California Fishing Passport awards will I receive?

  • California Fishing Passport Warmwater Angler
    • Warmwater Angler award pin
    • Certificate of Recognition suitable for framing

  • California Fishing Passport Accomplished Warmwater Angler
    • Accomplished Warmwater Angler award pin
    • Certificate of Recognition suitable for framing

  • California Master Warmwater Angler
    • California Warmwater Master Angler pin
    • Certificate of Recognition suitable for framing
    • CDFW Director's Letter of Congratulations

Coldwater Fishing (Inland)

Coldwater Fishing Awards

Coldwater Fishing Achievement and Recognition

View a printer-friendly summary of information about this award (PDF)

California's inland waters include more than 4,100 lakes and reservoirs and nearly 30,000 miles of streams and rivers that provide ample coldwater fishing opportunities for anglers of all ages. Both novice and experienced anglers can pursue the wily trout and other coldwater fishes from California's clear mountain lakes down to the streams and rivers emptying into the Pacific.

Coldwater Anglers may qualify for three different awards:

  • California Fishing Passport Coldwater Angler
    Catch at least 3 different qualifying fish.

  • California Fishing Passport Accomplished Coldwater Angler
    Catch at least 5 different qualifying fish.

  • California Master Coldwater Angler
    Catch at least 10 different qualifying fish.

Which coldwater fish qualify?

  • Qualifying coldwater fish are found in the Inland Coldwater Fishes section and the Anadromous Fishes section of the California Fishing Passport (shad, sturgeon, and striped bass do not qualify as coldwater fish)
  • For recognition as a California Fishing Passport Coldwater Angler, any 3 of the following species qualify.
  • For recognition as a California Fishing Passport Accomplished Coldwater Angler, any 5 of the following species qualify.
  • For recognition as a California Master Coldwater Angler, all 10 of the following species must be caught, documented, and stamped to qualify.

Specifically:

  • Brown trout
  • Brook trout
  • Chinook salmon
    landlocked or
    freshwater-caught only
  • Cutthroat trout
    any sub-species
    in the Passport
  • Golden trout
    any sub-species
    in the Passport
  • Kokanee
  • Lake trout
  • Mountain whitefish
  • Rainbow trout
    any sub-species
    in the Passport
  • Redband trout
    any sub-species
    in the Passport
 

Only species listed in the California Fishing Passport as defined above and caught in California since 2006 qualify for Coldwater Fishing awards.

What California Fishing Passport awards will I receive?

  • California Fishing Passport Coldwater Angler
    • Coldwater Angler award pin
    • Certificate of Recognition suitable for framing

  • California Fishing Passport Accomplished Coldwater Angler
    • Accomplished Coldwater Angler award pin
    • Certificate of Recognition suitable for framing

  • California Master Coldwater Angler
    • California Coldwater Master Angler pin
    • Certificate of Recognition suitable for framing
    • CDFW Director's Letter of Congratulations

Ocean Fishing

Ocean Fishing Achievement and Recognition

Warmwater Fishing Award

View a printer-friendly summary of information about this award (PDF)

Sport anglers come from all over the world to fish off California's coast, because nowhere else will you find such a variety of ocean game fish or diversity of saltwater angling adventures! From salmon and Pacific halibut off northern and central California, to the warmer water species such as yellowtail and marlin found down south, California is an unbeatable playground for saltwater anglers.

Ocean Anglers may qualify for three different awards:

  • California Fishing Passport Ocean Angler
    Catch at least 10 different qualifying fish.

  • California Fishing Passport Accomplished Ocean Angler
    Catch at least 25 different qualifying fish.

  • California Master Ocean Angler
    Catch at least 50 different qualifying fish.

Which ocean fish qualify?

  • Any species from the Ocean Fishes section of the California Fishing Passport
  • Any saltwater-caught species from the Anadromous Fishes section of the California Fishing Passport EXCEPT shad or steelhead (the latter may not be legally caught in the ocean)

Specifically:

  • Blue shark
  • Sevengill shark
  • Brown smoothhound shark
  • Leopard shark
  • Striped bass
    saltwater-caught
  • Chinook salmon
    saltwater-caught
  • White sturgeon
    saltwater-caught
  • Shortfin mako shark
  • Shovelnose guitarfish
  • Soupfin shark
  • Spiny dogfish
  • Swell shark
  • Thresher shark
  • Bat ray
  • Round stingray
  • Thornback
  • California grunion
  • Jacksmelt or Topsmelt
    counts as one stamp
  • Surf smelt or Night smelt
    counts as one stamp
  • Jack mackerel
  • Pacific chub mackerel
  • Barred surfperch
  • Black perch
  • Calico surfperch
  • Pile perch
  • Rainbow seaperch
  • Redtail surfperch
  • Rubberlip seaperch
  • Shiner perch
  • Silver surfperch
  • Spotfin surfperch
  • Striped surfperch
  • Walleye surfperch
  • Black croaker
  • California corbina
  • Spotfin croaker
  • White croaker
  • Yellowfin croaker
  • California halibut
  • Diamond turbot
  • Fantail sole
  • Pacific halibut
  • Sand sole
  • Sanddab
  • Wolf-eel
  • Monkeyface prickleback
  • Starry flounder
  • Bocaccio
  • Black rockfish
  • Black-and-yellow rockfish
  • Blue rockfish
  • Brown rockfish
  • California scorpionfish
  • Chilipepper
  • Copper rockfish
  • Gopher rockfish
  • Grass rockfish
  • Kelp rockfish
  • Olive rockfish
  • Quillback rockfish
  • Starry rockfish
  • Treefish
  • Vermilion rockfish
  • Yellowtail rockfish
  • Cabezon
  • Kelp greenling or Rock greenling
    counts as one stamp
  • Lingcod
  • Barred sand bass
  • Kelp bass
  • Spotted sand bass
  • Sargo
  • White seabass
  • Ocean whitefish
  • Blacksmith
  • Halfmoon
  • Opaleye
  • California sheephead
  • Albacore tuna
  • Bigeye tuna
  • Bluefin tuna
  • Dolphinfish
    dorado
  • Opah
  • Pacific barracuda
  • Pacific bonito
  • Skipjack tuna
  • Striped marlin
  • Swordfish
  • Yellowfin tuna
  • Yellowtail
 


Only species listed in the California Fishing Passport as defined above and caught since 2006 qualify for Ocean Fishing awards.

What California Fishing Passport awards will I receive?

  • California Fishing Passport Ocean Angler
    • Ocean Angler award pin
    • Certificate of Recognition suitable for framing

  • California Fishing Passport Accomplished Ocean Angler
    • Accomplished Ocean Angler award pin
    • Certificate of Recognition suitable for framing

  • California Master Ocean Angler
    • California Ocean Master Angler pin
    • Certificate of Recognition suitable for framing
    • CDFW Director's Letter of Congratulations

Shellfish (Inland and Ocean)

Shellfish Award

Shellfish Achievement and Recognition

View a printer-friendly summary of information about this award (PDF)

For most people, the word "fishing" conjures up the image of an angler with a rod and reel, but California is also home to many species of freshwater and saltwater shellfish. To fully experience all the state has to offer the sport fisherman, you'll need to put down your rod and reel and grab your clam fork or shovel, crayfish trap, abalone iron, hoop net, or dive bag.

Three different levels of achievement are available for Shellfish:

  • California Fishing Passport Shellfish Specialist
    Catch at least 3 different qualifying shellfish.

  • California Fishing Passport Shellfish Expert
    Catch at least 7 different qualifying shellfish.

  • California Shellfish Master
    Catch at least 15 different qualifying shellfish.

Which shellfish qualify?

Specifically:

  • Red swamp crayfish
  • Signal crayfish
  • California spiny lobster
  • Gaper clam
  • Pacific littleneck clam
  • Pismo clam
  • Pacific razor clam
  • Nuttall cockle
  • California mussel
  • Giant rock scallop
  • Dungeness crab
  • Red rock crab
  • Red abalone
  • Red sea urchin
  • Humboldt squid
  • Market squid
 


Only species listed in the California Fishing Passport as defined above and caught in California since 2006 qualify for Shellfish awards.

What California Fishing Passport awards will I receive?

  • California Fishing Passport Shellfish Specialist
    • Shellfish Specialist award pin
    • Certificate of Recognition suitable for framing

  • California Fishing Passport Shellfish Expert
    • Shellfish Expert award pin
    • Certificate of Recognition suitable for framing

  • California Shellfish Master
    • California Shellfish Master pin
    • Certificate of Recognition suitable for framing
    • CDFW Director's Letter of Congratulations

Supreme Master Angler Award

Supreme Master Angler Award

Supreme Master Angler Award

View a printer-friendly summary of information about this award (PDF).

The California Supreme Master Angler award honors a truly extraordinary fishing achievement. California Supreme Master Anglers have earned the title of Master Angler in at least two other California Fishing Passport award categories (inland warmwater, inland coldwater, ocean or shellfish). Award recipients have met the California Fishing Passport challenge by demonstrating their exceptional fishing versatility, innate and learned fishing knowledge, and the adventurous spirit needed to explore the many great fishing opportunities that California has to offer.

How do anglers earn the title of "California Supreme Master Angler"?

To earn California Supreme Master Angler status, an angler must have earned two or more of the following:

  • California Warmwater Master Angler
  • California Coldwater Master Angler
  • California Ocean Master Angler
  • California Shellfish Master

What recognition and award do California Supreme Master Anglers receive?

Anglers receiving the California Supreme Master Angler award are recognized at an official ceremony with an engraved plaque presented by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director. Award recipients also receive a beautiful enameled California Fishing Passport Supreme Master Angler pin and a letter of congratulations from the Director.

My First Fish Award

First Fish Award - link opens in new window

First Fish Award

There's nothing quite as exciting as feeling the sensation of that first bite! To celebrate catching your first fish, the California Fishing Passport program would like to present you with your First Fish Award!

Directions for Creating Your Award

  1. link opens in new windowView the award (PDF). On some platforms, you may need to download the PDF to open the fields (see below).

  2. Select the individual fields on the certificate to enter the name, city, state, age, date, species and bait used that you would like to see.

  3. At the top of the page select the printer icon, or from the menu click FILE-->PRINT to print your certificate.

Congratulations, and here's hoping that this thrilling achievement is just the beginning of a long and illustrious fishing career!


How to apply for recognition:

California Fishing Passport book
  1. Get your Passport book stamped at one of our CDFW offices or independent stamping agents. Each qualifying species must have been caught in California waters and be fully documented and stamped in your California Fishing Passport. If you have trouble finding a stamping agent, call us at (707) 964-5026.
  2. Make clear photocopies of your passport showing all the stamps earned towards your current level of achievement
  3. Print and fill out a California Fishing Passport link opens in new windowAngler Award application (PDF).
  4. Send the photocopies and the signed application to CDFW at:

    California Department of Fish and Wildlife
    California Fishing Passport Program
    32330 N. Harbor Drive
    Fort Bragg, CA 95437


Office of Communications, Education and Outreach
1416 9th Street, 12th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 322-8911


California Fishing Passport Book
California Fishing Passport
20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100
Monterey, CA 93940
Passport@wildlife.ca.gov | (831) 649-7191
Program Coordinator: Carrie Wilson