Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers are constantly on the lookout for wildlife taken by poachers. But it’s not every day they transport 460 pounds of poached fish.
A tip from a fisherman led the DNR to recover the salmon that were illegally taken on Tuesday. Behind the fish caper is a Colorado group that now faces more than $4,000 in restitution.
The group was fishing on the Manistee River near Tippy Dam in Dickson Township.
Conservation Officers Josiah Killingback, who patrols Lake County, and Scott MacNeill, who patrols the Manistee River, were on a fish patrol when they were approached by the fisherman who observed the group using illegal fishing methods and equipment. legal
“There are a lot of coho and Chinook salmon running through local rivers this time of year, attracting anglers from all over the country to be a part of one of Michigan’s best fishing adventures,” said Sgt. of the DNR. Grant Emery in a written response. “Although we have seen a decrease in illegal fishing activity over the years, unfortunately, we still encounter illegal and unconventional methods.”
When officers found the group, several members began snapping their fishing lines so officers wouldn’t see the illegal equipment. The officers also asked the group several questions and discovered that they did not have valid fishing licenses, were using illegal gear and were in possession of 17 salmon caught by an illegal method.
The group admitted their wrongdoing and took the officers back to their vehicles, where they had an additional 40-50 fish in their coolers. Some had already been filleted.
Licensed fishing groups can catch a total of 30 fish. This group illegally possessed 463 pounds of fish.
“It is unfortunate that this group invested so much time and money to travel all the way to Michigan just to illegally take these salmon, a valuable public natural resource,” Emery said in a written response. “We are grateful for the fisherman who came forward to Killingbeck and MacNeill, allowing them to recover the fish in time to safely give them to local families in need.”
The group received citations for using illegal methods to catch an upper limit of salmon and fishing without a license. Together, they will face more than $4,630 in restitution and additional costs. They have until Oct. 21 to contact Manistee County’s 85th District Court for their arraignment. The DNR does not release names prior to the arraignment.
Officers donated the fish to local families in Manistee County.