These poachers went way over the limit on walleye.
Twin brothers from Michigan lost their fishing licenses for one year and will have to pay over $2,700 in fines and reimbursement stemming from a May 2018 walleye poaching incident on the Detroit River.
The brothers, 54-year-old Benjamin and Steven Schrouder, pleaded guilty in the 27th District Court to exceeding the legal limit of five walleyes. The two men were caught by officers last May after a witness called Michigan's poaching hotline.
The witness followed the Schrouders in his boat. He noticed they filleted fish and placed them in a cooler at the dock at Libra Marina in Wyandotte, Michigan multiple times. The witness was able to provide a description of the two brothers, and a conservation officer in an unmarked vehicle responded.
The officer, David Schaumburger, watched the suspected poachers take their boat out of the water and then followed them into the marina where the Schrouders began taking the fillets from the cooler. Three more officers assisted Schaumburger as they confronted the two suspected poachers and searched their coolers.
Officers found undersized walleye and unfrozen walleye fillets in the brothers' coolers. There were 75 fish total, well above the daily limit of five. Anglers are allowed only five fish, plus two other daily limits of fish from previous fishing days in their possession at one time. Schaumburger later continued the investigation and dug up even more evidence through GPS cell phone records.
The DNR clearly wants to make an example of these poachers as a warning to others, with spring fishing beginning to ramp up in Michigan.
"With the walleye river run approaching at the end of the month, we want to remind anglers to stay within their daily limits," Schaumburger said in the DNR press release. "We also want to encourage others to report crimes such as this one. This caller saved countless fish for other anglers to legally pursue."
The officers cited the two poachers who then failed to appear for a later court date, resulting in warrants for their arrest. Upon being brought in and arraigned, both were ordered to pay $2,070 in fines, $700 in reimbursement for the walleyes they poached, and $20 in conservation fees.
The DNR encourages anyone who witnesses illegal hunting or fishing activity to call or text their Report All Poaching hotline (RAP) at 800-292-7800.