Complete Guidelines for Fish Records

Complete Guidelines for the Idaho State Record Fish Program

Program Guidelines:
  • Only fish caught in publicly-accessible waters with legal fishing methods during an open season are eligible for State Records.
  • All applicants must have a valid Idaho fishing license at the time the fish was caught.
  • No records will be awarded for fish caught during salvage seasons or at private pay-to-fish facilities.
  • Archery and spearfishing records will be combined into a single category and awarded separately from rod/reel records for legally taken fish (unprotected nongame fish species only).
  • IDFG will not maintain records for individual line class, specific water bodies, or age/gender of anglers.
The Department will recognize two categories of State Record Fish including: Certified Weight Records and Catch-and-Release Records. Existing historical records for species that can no longer be legally harvested will remain in place as Certified Weight Records. All state record species previously awarded will remain as viable categories and will appear in the official list of Idaho record fish published in the Idaho Fishing Seasons and Rules booklet and on the IDFG website. White Sturgeon, wild Steelhead, wild ocean run Chinook Salmon and Bull Trout may not be harvested and therefore are only eligible for Catch-and-Release Records.
All applicants must submit a complete Record Fish Application Form, accompanying photographs, and certified weight receipt (if applicable) to IDFG. This form can be completed online, or downloaded from the IDFG website.
Border Waters
IDFG will issue Idaho records to anglers fishing border waters as long as:
  1. they are legally fishing under the conditions of the state reciprocal agreements AND
  2. they have an Idaho fishing license (or are an Idaho resident in the case of junior anglers that don’t require them).
Certified Weight Records
Certified Weight Records are based on the weight of a fish legally harvested as determined by a certified scale with required receipt. Records will be awarded for either fish caught by angling (rod/reel) or by archery/spearfish for legal unprotected nongame species. Archery/spear fishing records will be listed separately and identified by the angler on the application form.
Certified Weight Records application criteria:
  • Anglers must complete an Idaho Record Fish Application form. This form can be completed online, or downloaded and delivered to an IDFG office. If submitted online and printed copy must be presented at the time the fish is certified in person by IDFG.
  • The species of the fish must be certified in person by a qualified permanent employee of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
  • The fish must be weighed on a scale certified for legal trade. This type of scale can typically be found at grocery stores or US Post Offices.  The weighing must be witnessed by a person other than the applicant or by (b) a Department of Fish and Game employee.
  • A receipt from the certified scale documenting the weight is required to be submitted with the completed application form.
  • The official weight shall be the weight at the time of weighing.  No provision for weight loss will be allowed.
  • Total length of the fish is a straight line from the tip of the snout with mouth closed to the end of the tail fin squeezed together. Girth of the fish will be measured around the thickest portion of the body.
  • At least two photographs of the fish must be submitted with and application. One photo of the fish and a second photo of the angler with the fish are required.
  • Applications must be submitted within 30 days of catch date to be considered.
  • IDFG may verify and reject any application or award granted if deemed questionable.
Catch-and-Release Records
Catch and Release Records are based only on the total length (snout to tip of tail) for fish released alive. Fish must be photographed directly next to a ruler/tape or an object of known verifiable length. White Sturgeon records must be broken by a minimum of 2 inches to qualify as new records. All other record fish species must be exceeded by 0.5 inches to qualify as a new record.
Catch and Release Records application criteria:
  • Anglers must complete an Idaho Catch and Release State Record Fish Application form. This form can be completed online, or downloaded and delivered to an IDFG office.
  • Steelhead, ocean run salmon, Bull Trout and White Sturgeon submitted for records must be measured and photographed in the water.
  • Fish must be measured for total length and immediately released. Sturgeon should be measured upside down along the belly from the snout to tip of the upper lobe of the tail fin.
  • Steelhead, ocean run salmon, Bull Trout and White Sturgeon must be photographed in the water to be eligible for Catch-and-Release-Records.
  • Applicants must submit at least two photographs with their application. This should include (1) at least one photo of the fish directly next to a ruler/tape or an object of known verifiable length and (2) at least one photo of the angler with the fish. IDFG biologists must be able to clearly verify the species and length from the photos or the applications will be rejected.
  • White Sturgeon records must be broken by a minimum of 2 inches to qualify as new records. All other fish species must be exceeded by 0.5 inches to qualify as a new record.
  • Applications must be submitted within 30 days of catch date to be considered.
  • IDFG may verify and reject any application or award granted if deemed questionable.
Eligible Species:
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) will issue Idaho State Record Fish awards for both game species and nongame species, except for bullfrogs and crayfish, which are not eligible.
  1. Rainbow Trout
    With the exception of Steelhead and Gerrard (formerly “Kamloops”) strains, Rainbow Trout will not receive any strain designations and may be submitted from any water body in Idaho.   Rainbow Trout from the Clark Fork/ Pend Oreille drainage are a unique strain of exceptionally large fish that will be designated “Gerrard Rainbow Trout”.
  2. Cutthroat Trout
    Cutthroat Trout records will be maintained for each subspecies occurring within Idaho-- Yellowstone, Westslope, Bonneville Cutthroat and Lahontan.  “Snake River Fine-Spotted Cutthroat” are considered Yellowstone Cutthroat. State records for Bonneville Cutthroat must have been caught within the current range of this subspecies including the Bear and Malad River drainages including Bear Lake.
  3. Other Trout/Char Species
    Lake Trout (a.k.a. Mackinaw) will be recorded and listed using the common name of “Lake Trout” only. State record will be maintained for various trout and whitefish species using the following names:  “Golden Trout”, “Arctic Grayling”, “Mountain Whitefish”, “Lake Whitefish”, and “Brook Trout”. “Bull Trout” are not open to legal harvest and are therefore only eligible for Catch-and-Release Records.
  4. Salmon and Steelhead
    Separate records will be kept for ocean-going (anadromous) and landlocked forms of salmon. Anadromous Rainbow Trout will continue to be listed as “Steelhead”.  Landlocked Sockeye Salmon will continue to be listed as “Kokanee”. Wild Salmon and Steelhead not open to legal harvest will only be eligible for Catch-and-Release Records.
  5. Hybrid Fish Species
    State records will be maintained for some hybrid game fish species. All rainbow/cutthroat hybrids will be recorded as one category under “Rainbow/Cutthroat Hybrid” regardless of parent subspeces. Brook Trout/Brown Trout hybrids will be recorded as “Tiger Trout”. Lake Trout/Brook Trout hybrids will be recorded as “Splake”. No state records will be issued for Bull Trout/Brook Trout hybrids to avoid mistaken harvest of Bull Trout.  Northern Pike/Muskellunge hybrids will be recorded as “Tiger Muskie”.
  6. Bullhead Catfish
    Two species of bullhead catfish (Ameiurus spp.) are present in Idaho (Black and Brown Bullhead). Because of the difficulty in distinguishing the two species, records for bullhead catfish will be maintained generally as “Bullhead Catfish”.
  7. Tilapia
    Several species of tilapia (Oreochromis spp.) may be present in Idaho. State records will not be issued for individual species of tilapia and will be grouped in general as “Tilapia”.