Anglers' records of fish weight (ARFW) were analysed in Poland for the periods 1965–1989 (successive increases in inland water pollution), and 1990–2010 (considerable improvements in water quality). For the initial ARFW analysis, the entire study was divided into nine intervals of 5 years each; the period that followed was divided into three catchments: the Vistula, Oder and Pomeranian rivers, whereby 10 species were chosen to represent obligatory riverine and facultative species. With a few exceptions, the investigated species showed unexpected and varying reactions to the changes in water quality. The ARFW of obligatory riverine barbel Barbus barbus (L.) decreased during the first periods (1965–1989), then increased significantly from 1990 to 2010. For obligatory riverine ide Leuciscus idus (L.), tendencies were less clear but as significant. However, other obligatory riverine species have not shown a relationship between ARFW and water quality. Discrepancies were also recorded in the facultative riverine pike (Esox lucius L.) and brown trout (Salmo trutta L.). Considering the number of medals recorded, there were some interesting tendencies related to the decline or improvement in the water quality, although not in all investigated species. The species displaying a decrease in medals awarded from 1966 to 1989 and increasing after 1990, was chub Leuciscus cephalus (L.), but only until 2005. Species which showed successive increases in awards from 1989 to 2010 were: pike, perch (Perca fluviatilis L.), ide, and wels (Silurus glanis L.). However, for species in the period when the water quality actually deteriorated (1966–1990), the number of medals awarded increased: barbel, brown trout (S. trutta L.), and grayling Thymallus thymallus (L.).