Saltwater Fishing Tournament FAQs

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The North Carolina Saltwater Fishing Tournament, commonly referred to as the “Citation Program,” runs from January 1 to December 31 of each calendar year. The program recognizes anglers for their outstanding recreational catches of fish most commonly caught in North Carolina.

A citation is an 8.5 by 11-inch certificate that is suitable for framing.

red drum citation

Fish that qualify for a citation are of exceptional size. Please review the rules for the tournament listed at the top of the page listed below.

View the list of weight requirements and release length requirements

The fish that are eligible for citations are some of the most common fish in North Carolina coastal waters.

View the list of species and size requirements

Visit an Official NC Saltwater Fishing Tournament Weigh Station. There they will weigh your fish or guide you through filling out the paper for a release citation. You may also apply for a release citation online.

Flounder citations are not available out of season. A citation may be available through the Carcass Collection Program. To view the most up-to-date information on flounder, visit the Flounder Carcass Collection webpage.

Release citations have always been awarded on the honor system, you only need a witness to sign the form. You do not have to send in photographs in order to receive your citation.

No. We do not charge for the processing of citation certificates.

Citation application forms are available at our weigh stations, or through the online application page.

Citations will be printed and mailed twice a year. Some species, such as red drum, black drum, and released speckled trout, are printed and mailed only once at the end of the year. Anglers will receive 1 citation per species with the yearly total of released fish.

  • Print 1: January 1st-June 30th, applications due by July 7th.
  • Print 2: July 1st-December 31st, applications due by January 15th.


The freshwater Angler Recognition Program is run by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. For details on their program, please visit their website or call 919-707-0220.

If you have misplaced or damaged a previous year’s citation you may request a downloadable and printable PDF certificate by emailing Please include you full name, current mailing address, the species of fish, the weight or length, and the date the fish was landed.

If you received your citation in the mail that was damaged or there is an error on the certificate, please let us know so we can print and mail a replacement. Email Please include your full name, current mailing address, the species of fish, the weight or length, and the date the fish was landed.

If you have additional questions, please contact staff at