The Minnesota DNR is using this poaching incident to stress importance of knowing fishing rules and regulations.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced a major bust in which six people are alleged to have taken hundreds of fish over the legal limit.
The six people from Indiana, who included five men and one woman, are accused of poaching almost 700 sunfish and crappies from Upper Cormorant Lake located in Becker County. The legal possession limit is 10 crappies and 20 sunfish in Minnesota.
The fish were found in freezers in the group's cabins KARE 11 reports after investigators received an anonymous tip. The group could lose their fishing privileges for the next three years in addition to a large fine if they are convicted of the crime. They may also have to pay $5 restitution for every fish they caught.
The Minnesota DNR is using the incident to underscore the importance of working with citizens to stop poachers. "Helping conservation officers catch poachers - individuals that exceed legal limits of fish and game - will help to protect the quality of the state's fishing," a press release on the DNR's website stated.
The release further states there have been cases of anglers "double tripping" on fish this summer. Anglers catch their limit, clean them and store them, then go back out to catch more. In one case, an angler was caught "triple-tripping" on crappie.
"He caught his limit in the morning, at lunch, and again after dinner," DNR Enforcement Director Ken Soring said in the release.
The DNR is encouraging anglers to be aware of differences between possession and daily limits. "If you take a limit of 10 crappies, you may not take more that day, and you may not take more crappies on subsequent days if those fish combined with remaining crappies at home exceeds the 10-crappie limit," the release says.
They are also encouraging the public to be self-policing when they see others violating the law. "We want to work with the public to apprehend those who fail to respect the resources or rights of other citizens," DNR Fisheries Chief Don Pereira said.