West Virginia Trophy Fish Citation: How to Qualify

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Just as its western neighbor hosts the popular Fish Ohio Recognition Program, the Mountain State offers the West Virginia Trophy Fish Citation Program.

The purpose of this program is to recognize anglers who have managed to catch a fish of a qualifying species that meets either length or weight criteria.

While the Fish Ohio program (and numerous others throughout the nation) offer qualification based exclusively off of length, West Virginia’s trophy fish certification gives anglers the opportunity to qualify via either meeting or exceeding weight or length minimums.

While inclusion in this program will take even savvy anglers a degree of patience and skill, the good news is that West Virginia has a plethora of lake, creeks, and rivers where these fish can be legally pulled from.

If you are looking for a great destination to land a potential trophy fish, we recommend taking a look at our list of the Best Fishing Lakes in West Virginia.

Also, to qualify for the program, you must have a valid West Virginia fishing license.

How to Qualify for the West Virginia Fish Citation Program

As we mentioned above, anglers must catch a fish of a qualifying species (currently 27 species in total) that meet either length or weight requirements.

According to the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, the following criteria must be met:

  • Only fish that are obtain via rod and reel retrieval by a licensed West Virginia angler
  • A fish must meet or exceed either the length or weight minimums (no additional certification will be given for fish that meet or exceed both criteria, however)
  • Weight: For qualifying fish based upon weight, the scale must either be certified by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources or at an office of the West Virginia Wildlife Resources Section. A witness must be present for the weighing and sign the official application form.
  • Length: For qualifying fish based upon length, a witness must also be present (and will be required to sign the application form). A side-profile photo of the fish (measured from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail) will also be required for submission.
  • Applications will need to submitted within sixty days of the catch to qualify
  • Non-residents who hold a valid West Virginia fishing license are eligible

To submit your qualifying catch, anglers can download the application form below and send it to the address listed at the bottom of the form.

Download the West Virginia Trophy Fish Citation Program Application

Qualifying Species and Sizes (in Weight and Length)

As of this posting, twenty-seven species native to the Mountain State can qualifying for West Virginia’s trophy citation.

The minimum sizes are:

Largemouth Bass5 pounds21 inches
Smallmouth Bass4 pounds20 inches
Spotted Bass1.5 pounds14 inches
Rock Bass1 pound11 inches
Striped Bass7 pounds25 inches
Hybrid Striped Bass7 pounds24 inches
Brook Trout1.5 pounds15 inches
Brown Trout4 pounds21 inches
Rainbow Trout4 pounds21 inches
Golden Trout4 pounds21 inches
Crappie1.5 pounds15 inches
Sunfish1 pound10 inches
White Bass2 pounds15 inches
Musky15 pounds40 inches
Tiger Musky15 pounds40 inches
Chain Pickerel2 pounds20 inches
Northern Pike8 pounds32 inches
Yellow Perch1 pound13 inches
Channel Catfish6 pounds25 inches
Flathead Catfish10 pounds29 inches
Bullhead Catfish2 pounds16 inches
Blue Catfish10 pounds29 inches
Fallfish2 pounds18 inches
Freshwater Drum10 pounds27 inches
Carp15 pounds31 inches
Walleye5 pounds25 inches
Sauger1.5 pounds17 inches

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