Traverse City – Michigan anglers are landing some prime fish.

The Department of Natural Resources says 2,176 anglers from 24 states and Canada submitted catches last year that were recognized in the state’s Master Angler program. That was a significant increase over 1,807 Master Angler fish in 2016.

The program, in place since 1973, recognizes large fish caught by recreational anglers. It has more than doubled since 2014.

Of the entries accepted by the DNR, 1,250 were in the catch-and-keep category while 926 were in the catch-and-release category. A total of 266 anglers received certificates for fish placing in the top five for both categories.

The most frequently landed Master Angler species was bluegill, followed by pumpkinseed sunfish, smallmouth bass, crappie and rainbow trout.

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