By Louie Stout

Southwest Michigan waters were well represented in the DNR’s Master Angler program for last season.

Some 35 fish from Berrien County and 7 from Cass County qualified for the state honor.

Anglers receive a patch for catching a fish that meets state minimum requirements and that they submit through a procedure outlined in the annual Fishing Guide.

The 2017 season attracted a lot of entries, as 2,176 anglers representing 24 states and Canada submitted catches recognized in the state's Master Angler program - a significant increase over 1,807 Master Angler fish in 2016.

The program, in place since 1973, has more than doubled since 2014.