Minnesota‘s Turn in a Poacher program is designed to let law-abiding citizens phone in a “TIP” on illegal activity. It worked flawlessly on June 7 when an angler called saying he saw group going back and forth with buckets of fish to their car. It didn’t take long for conservation officer Jeff Johanson to catch up with the poachers at Lobster Lake in west-central Minnesota.
The TIP included descriptions, a license plate number, and detailed accounts of what was going down.
“I can’t express the gratitude we [conservation officers] have for the local law enforcement agencies that are always willing to assist us at the drop of a hat,” said Johanson. “This case is a great example of that much appreciated cooperation.”
With the help of local law enforcement, they were able to arrest three individuals who were all fishing with a license on Lobster Lake and Lake Mina. The three of them had 116 sunfish, 15 largemouth bass and two rock bass in their possession. The daily/possession limit for sunfish in Minnesota is 20 per individual. Restitution value for the fish totals $1,040, making the violation a gross misdemeanor overlimit of fish. Conviction of a gross misdemeanor carries a maximum fine of $3,000 and one year in jail. A trial date has been set for July 30 in Douglas County Court, according Wadena Pioneer Journal.
Two of the men have been cited for illegal fishing before. –Brian McClintock