Over The Limit: Michigan Man Caught With 1,400 Illegal Fish

WWJ News
August 22, 2019 - 11:07 am

Conservation Officers Joshua Wright (left) and Mark Papineau confiscated more than 1,400 illegal panfish from a Gladwin, Michigan, man. (Photo: Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

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(WWJ) A Mid-Michigan fisherman has been ticketed for illegally taking more than 1,400 panfish that were found in his freezer. 

The man, a 67-year-old Gladwin resident whose name was not released, was busted by Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers who'd received multiple tips from other anglers about possible over-fishing 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,” said Conservation Officer Mark Papineau.

Based on the leads, Papineau and Conservation Officer Joshua Wright met up with the suspect while conducting a marine patrol the morning of Aug. 14.

After initially telling officers “I’m not over my limit," the DNR says the angler was found with 24 panfish in his possession, which is within the daily limit of 25.

After talking to him further, however, officials said the man confessed he'd already caught and kept 13 panfish earlier in the day. 

He eventually invited Papineau and Wright to his home to see the evidence, consenting to let the officers search his garage chest freezers.

There they found 19 fresh panfish, plus more than 70 bags of filleted panfish; the total exceeding the limit by more than 1,400 fish.

Papineau and Wright confiscated the fish and issued the man a ticket. Once the fish is no longer needed as evidence, it will be donated to a local food bank or church.

“Thank you to the anglers who reported the suspicious activity to Conservation Officer Papineau,” said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “It’s because of honest people like this that Michigan’s natural resources can be protected for and enjoyed by future generations.”

Anyone who witnesses or suspects overfishing or any other natural resource violation is asked to call or text the Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800 anytime, 24 hours a day.