About the Maryland Fishing Challenge
Diamond Jim Winner

The Maryland Fishing Challenge is a free, year-round tournament sponsored by the Maryland DNR Fisheries Service, 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.

The Maryland Fishing Challenge would not be possible without the sponsors, individuals, and fishing organizations who donate prizes and fishing trips. The contest is funded via revenue from fishing licenses, gasoline sales surcharges and a federal excise tax on sport fishing tackle and related equipment; and therefore it also depends on contributions from anglers like you. Thanks to all for your generous support!

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 four 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 and your invitation to the Grand Celebration will be sent to you in August 2014. Prize winners will be randomly selected from the attendees at the celebration and qualifying anglers are limited to one chance per person, regardless of the number of awards they receive. 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. During September, two prizes will be awarded for this component via random drawing.

  3. Diamond Jim -

    Diamond Jim is a special component of the Maryland Fishing Challenge that honors Maryland's official State fish, the striped bass and the Chesapeake Bay. Originally established in 1956, the original Diamond Jim Contest featured a single, tagged striped bass released by a Baltimore brewery that rewarded the lucky angler that caught the fish with a cash reward of $25,000. In the modern day contest, there are many tagged fish; but only one each month is the authentic Diamond Jim. If this fish is caught and verified by DNR, it is worth up to $25,000 to the angler who catches it. The remaining tagged striped bass are known as imposters, and are valued at a minimum reward of $500.There is no limit to the number of tagged fish you can catch.

    If you catch a striped bass with a bright yellow-green tag, all you need to do to enter is call the number printed on the tag. Do not remove the tag from the fish. If the tag is removed from the fish, it becomes void and you will not be entered into the contest.

  4. Maryland Fishing Challenge (MFC) Youth -

    Each year approximately 15-20 lucky youth anglers are invited to the Maryland Fishing Challenge Finale' where they are awarded guided fishing trip. During 2014, the youth anglers will be selected from members of the Maryland Youth Fishing Club (MYFC) who submit a post to Youth Angler's Log. Each month there will be a random drawing from the monthly 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 2014 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. Each winner is responsible for paying any and all taxes on any prize(s) won. 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. DNR may certify that you are qualified before your name will be entered into the final prize drawing.

For more information about the award program contact Keith Lockwood at klockwood@dnr.state.md.us. For additional information regarding the Maryland Fishing Challenge contact Joe Evans at jevans@dnr.sdate.md.us.

Current Entrants Odometer