poaching panfish
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Michigan Man Busted With More Than 1,400 Illegal Panfish

The daily limit for panfish on Gladwin County's Lake Lancer is 25 fish.

A fisherman exceeded his daily limit by a long shot last week, when wildlife officials busted him with more than 1,400 panfish.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources received several calls from fellow fishermen reporting a 67-year-old man who was clearly exceeding it daily 25-fish limit on Lake Lancer in Gladwin County.

"The angler's vehicle often was spotted in the parking lot of a private boat launch and the angler himself was witnessed fishing Lake Lancer several times per day," DNR Officer Mark Papineau said in a press release.

When Papineau and fellow officer Joshua Wright patrolled the lake Aug. 14, they spotted the suspect's vehicle and boat trailer near a boat ramp and ultimately spoke with him on the water.

The angler displayed a valid fishing license and showed that he'd only caught 13 panfish.

However, later that day, they would see his vehicle at the boat ramp again, so they decided to wait about an hour for his return.

According to the DNR, when he did finally return, he immediately claimed he wasn't over his limit. But he eventually admitted to having 24 fish, which gave him a total of 37 for the entire day.

The conservation officers then went to the fisherman's house to collect the fish from earlier in the day, only to find six fish that weren't unaccounted for from the previous outing, as well as 70 bags of filleted fish in his freezer.

They then ticketed the man and seized a total of more than 1,400 panfish, which which will ultimately go to local churches and food banks.

DNR Law Enforcement Chief Gary Hagler made a point to commend those who called in.

"It's because of honest people like this that Michigan's natural resources can be protected and enjoyed by future generations," he said.