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2024 Angler of the Year Rules

1.) The NCKA Angler of the Year ("AOTY") Competition runs from January 1, 2024 to December 31, 2024. FISH CAUGHT PRIOR TO PAYMENT OF ENTRY FEES ARE INELIGIBLE.

2.) The fish entry population covers the following twenty-one categories: Lingcod, Rockfish, Cabezon, Greenling, California Halibut, Pacific Halibut, Flatfish, White Seabass, Surf Perch, Salmon, Sturgeon, Striped Bass, Steelhead, Trout, Brown Trout, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass and Spotted Bass, Lake Trout, Kokanee, Catfish, and Panfish.

3.) Waterway Rule - All fish entered must be caught within the northern and eastern California borders (the entire waters of Lake Tahoe and Topaz Lake are allowed) and north of the southern borders of the following counties: Monterey, Kings, Tulare and Inyo. Fish caught from waterways with restricted access to the public, such as members-only or private waterways or aquaculture operations are not allowed. Fish caught from waters where anglers have to pay on a per fish basis, such as trout farms, are not allowed.

4.) Watercraft Rule - Eligible watercraft for the competition include kayaks, kayak/canoe hybrids, and Standup Paddle Boards (SUPs). The watercraft must be under human powered control from launch until landing, and no mothershipping is allowed. Sails will be allowed in the Sail division but no motors may be used or attached to the watercraft while fishing. 2024 update: Battery/electric powered motors are now allowed.

5.) Take Rule - All fish entered must be caught by hook and line (i.e. hooked, fought, and landed) from an eligible watercraft without aid from anyone else and using methods deemed legal by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

6.) Retention Rule - Only fish that you can legally keep and eat (per CA DFW regulations) are eligible. Any fish that has the appearance of possibly being not qualified for entry (such as the appearance of an adipose fin from a non-native retention body of water) will be disqualified. Competitors should include comments with AOTY submission if there may be any questions regarding the fish's legality.

7.) Photograph Rule - Photographic evidence of fish size (total length, except for Sturgeon which shall be measured according to fork length as per CDFW regulations) against a measuring device must be provided. Photographs must be clear, with measurements easily read. Only pictures that show the ENTIRE fish will be used in judging submissions. Missing portions of the head or tail in the photograph will result in a disqualification of the submission. “Tail only” shots may be used to clarify full length pictures, but will not be used as the sole factor in determining length. Committee recommends competitors take pictures of fish from “straight up” with fish's belly facing towards the competitor, as this assists the committee in determining the accurate length of the fish and determine whether the mouth is closed.

8.) Posing Rule - All fish should be posed in a manner that allows the committee to easily determine the length, mouth open/closed status and legality. All fish must be measured on their side, with the exception of Sturgeon, Catfish, and Cabezon which may be measured with their belly facing down. Submissions should show the mouth of the fish completely closed. If the mouth is not completely closed, the committee will deduct 1 inches from the measured length (unless the mouth cannot be completely closed due to a natural deformity or kype/hookjaw). Participants should make a good faith effort to close the fish’s mouth and egregious “mouth-open” submissions will be rejected at the discretion of the committee. Fish may NOT be gutted, have their throat cut or ripped through, or manipulated in any way prior to photographs being taken. Cutting of gills is permitted. Tails may be pressed together or tilted. You are not allowed to stretch, pinch or pull the lips to gain extra length. No lip grippers, game clips or stringers can be in the mouth when photograph is taken. Continued violations of the posing rule may result in the disqualification of the competitor.

9.) Measurement Rule - All submissions should include accurate, full length measurements of the fish, and be measured on a hawg trough, measuring board or similar measuring device. All entries must be rounded down to the nearest hash mark that can be visibly seen, using quarter inch increments. For any submissions where an extender or similar device is used, the competitor must submit photographic evidence verifying the length of the extension. The committee strongly recommends competitors use a sharpie on measuring devices that have hash marks which are not clearly marked. All submissions will be subject to committee approval before appearing as official entries. There may be a few days lag between the time you post a submission and the time it appears on the AOTY site.

10.) The biggest fish from each angler's top ten species will be used towards the angler's total points.

11.) The “Trout” category includes fish generally referred to by the following common names: brook trout, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, golden trout, and dolly varden.

12.) The “Panfish” category includes fish generally referred to by the following common names: crappie, members of the Lepomis genus (bluegill, red ear, pumpkinseed, etc), Sacramento perch, and yellow perch.

13.) The “Flatfish” category includes all non-halibut flatfish species, including all species of flounder, sole, turbot, sanddabs and tonguefish.

14.) Entries must be posted within 2 weeks of being caught and photographed. No "hoarding" of entries.

15.) Participant complaints should be submitted to the committee (Sin Coast, ThreemoneyJ, Midwest, AnnieAreYouOK, Cod Almighty, and/or Sailfish). No bashing of other competitors on the NCKA forums or social media sites will be tolerated. Such posts will be deleted by the Admins/Mods, and a warning will be issued. A second violation of this rule will result in a disqualification of the offender from participating in AOTY.

Scoring Scale
Vermillion thumb Rockfish 8.0 pts/in
Cabezon thumb Cabezon 8.0 pts/in
Salmon thumb Salmon 5.0 pts/in
Cahalibut thumb California Halibut 5.0 pts/in
Lingcod thumb Lingcod 5.0 pts/in
Trout thumb Trout 7.75 pts/in
Smallmouth bass thumb Smallmouth Bass & Spotted Bass 9.0 pts/in
Largemouth bass thumb Largemouth Bass 8.0 pts/in
Sturgeon thumb Sturgeon 3.75 pts/in
Striped bass thumb Striped Bass 5.25 pts/in
Greenling thumb Greenling 11.0 pts/in
Surfperch thumb Surf Perch 12.0 pts/in
Flounder thumb Flatfish 9.0 pts/in
White seabass thumb White Seabass 4.0 pts/in
Steelhead thumb Steelhead 6.0 pts/in
Panfish thumb Panfish 12.0 pts/in
Catfish thumb Catfish 5.5 pts/in
Kokanee thumb Kokanee 11.0 pts/in
Laketrout thumb Lake (Mackinaw) Trout 6.0 pts/in
Pachali thumb Pacific Halibut 4.25 pts/in
Browntrout thumb Brown Trout 7.75 pts/in

Entry Fee - $40

Entry Fee - $40

Registration fees ($40 per player) will go towards PIF 2020, after prize plaques for winner and "big fish" are purchased for both AOTY and DOTY. PIF (Pay It Forward) is organized by the A-Hulls and has raised and donated over $80,000 since 2010 to NCKA members battling Cancer, serious illness or other tragedy. The A-Hulls will decide (with input from the NCKA community) who the PIF recipient(s) will be.

There will be Piscean Plaques for the first place winners of both AOTY and DOTY. The "big fish" in each category of AOTY and DOTY will receive an award. There will be prizes donated by sponsors (TBD) for at least the top three in both AOTY and DOTY.

Each participant in AOTY/DOTY will automatically receive one entry into a raffle once they pay the $40 entry fee. Participants can receive up to 20 additional raffle entries for each species submitted and approved in both AOTY and DOTY. 21 entries into the raffle will be the max that any player can have. The goal of the raffle is to encourage participation and friendly competition amongst those anglers and divers that may not be able to invest the amount of time needed to finish in the top three. Raffle Prize TBD.

Junior DOTY is limited to members under the age of 18 on January 1, 2020. Entrance is free. Prizes are TBD but will be awarded to at least the top three.