Each year Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) runs its year-long Fishing Challenge as part of their YOUth Fishing Passport Program. This program was put in place to encourage young anglers in Connecticut to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors through fishing. The challenge is for each youth angler to try and catch as many of the listed species as they can in one calendar year, the 2022 winner, Daniel Echols, made history by catching them all.
This would be a monumental feat for any angler of any age! The 22 species that Daniel had to capture and photograph are: Atlantic salmon, blackfish, bluefish, bluegill, blue crab, brook trout, brown bullhead, brown trout, common carp, chain pickerel, channel catfish, fluke, kokanee, largemouth bass, northern pike, rainbow trout, pumpkinseed, porgy, smallmouth bass, striped bass, walleye and yellow perch. Daniels historic run marks the first time all 22 species have been recorded by a single angler. For 2023, DEEP has added another 11 species: American shad, calico bass, rock bass, bowfin, tiger trout, white sucker, fallfish, black sea bass, striped sea robin and smooth dogfish.
There were also four runners up: Rocco Semerano and Adam Chrzanowski were tied for second place, each landed 19 of the 22 listed species, Rocco lead the Atlantic salmon category and Adam topped the northern pike category. Adrian Swietek and Colton Johnson tied for third place with 18 species landed, Adrian lead the channel catfish category and Colton held top honors for bluefish.
To participate in the challenge, each angler must be 16 years of age or under and must record each catch with a photo taken next to a ruler to see if it qualifies for a Trophy Fish Award. After, they must submit their catch using the online angler recognition portal. The Fisheries Division maintains a scoreboard online, and the top four anglers with the most species on their scorecard win prizes. To get your child involved in the YOUth Fishing Challenge please visit portal.ct.gov/DEEP/fishing/CARE/YOUth-Fishing-Passport.