Anglers who catch trophy-sized fish that do not qualify for a state record can have their catch officially recognized by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission through its N.C. Angler Recognition Program (NCARP). If a fish meets or exceeds EITHER weight or length requirements, anglers can submit their catch information in exchange for a certificate of recognition featuring a color reproduction of the fish species by renowned wildlife artist Duane Raver.
Anglers who collect six NCARP certificates receive a Master Angler certificate and patch. Because either lengths or weights can be used to certify fish as NCARP-eligible trophy fish, anglers can practice catch-and-release with their fish.
Apply for an NCARP certificate by completing an NCARP application.
Applications are also available at many bait and tackle shops, sporting good stores and other Wildlife Service Agent locations and in the North Carolina Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest. A $5 fee with each application covers costs associated with the program.
Youth age 15 and younger can apply for a Youth NCARP certificate for any of the fish species listed below. Minimum length and weight requirements are waived.
For more information about NCARP, call (919) 707-0220.
How to Measure a Fish Properly (PDF)
NC Freshwater Fishing State Record Program
Common Fish Species in North Carolina
Division of Marine Fisheries' NC Saltwater Fishing Record (opens new tab)
Division of Marine Fisheries' NC Saltwater Fishing Tournament (Citation Program)