California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Trophy Black Bass Certificate Program

Angler holding a very large bass

Trophy Black Bass program was adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission in February, 1993 under the Black Bass Conservation and management Act of 1980.

The purpose of the Program is to provide a reasonable opportunity for an angler to catch a trophy-sized black bass at designated waters. As part of the Trophy Black Bass program CDFW maintains records of anglers who catch a trophy size bass and submit a recognition application form to CDFW.

Verified catches are entered into CDFW databases and provide information on trophy fish catches to managers. Anglers will receive a frameable certificate documenting their catch and if the fish is released back to the water, an attractive California Trophy Black Bass Program Catch and Release hat / lapel pin.

Trophy Black Bass Program Policy

In the Trophy Black Bass Program policy, trophy-sized black bass are recognized by the following minimum weight standards:

  • largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides - 10 lb
  • smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu - 6 lb
  • spotted bass Micropterus punctulatus - 6 lb

As part of the program, the Department is charged to:

  1. Identify and submit to the Commission certain waters within the state to be designated as trophy-sized black bass waters based on the following criteria:
    1. Angler access:
      1. Open for public angling with unrestricted access, or
      2. Open for public angling with controlled access consistent with Commission policy.
    2. Historically or biologically demonstrated the capability of producing, with appropriate angling regulations or other fishery management actions, catch by anglers in most years of fish meeting the above trophy-sized black bass standards.
  2. Manage at least one water in each of the Department's six management regions as a Trophy Black Bass Water.
  3. Develop a management plan for each designated water. The plan shall include a description and evaluation of the fishery, an assessment of environmental factors conducive to or limiting trophy black bass management, recommendations for management actions needed to increase abundance of trophy black bass, and an assessment of personnel and fiscal resources needed to carryout the intent of the program.
  4. Establish a Trophy Black Bass Recognition Program. In February 1994, the Commission designated Trinity, Oroville, Clear, Isabella, and Castaic lakes as trophy black bass waters. Trophy black bass management plans were developed for these waters as part of the program.