Walleye poaching

Conservation Officers David Schaumburger, Danielle Zubek, Adam Beuthin and Keven Luther caught two men poaching walleye from the Detroit River in May. (Photo: Michigan DNR)

Twin Brothers Plead Guilty To Poaching Walleye On Detroit River

March 14, 2019 - 10:37 am

(WWJ) Twin brothers from west Michigan have temporarily lost their fishing licenses for poaching walleye on the Detroit River.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, 54-year-old Benjamin Schrouder, of Ada, and his brother, 54-year-old Steven Schrouder of Lowell, last week pleaded guilty in 27th District Court in Wyandotte after they were caught with about 75 fish in their coolers in May of 2018.

The legal walleye limit on the Detroit River is five, 15-inch walleye per day. 

An investigation began, the DNR says, when conservation officers received a poaching complaint via the Report All Poaching hotline.

The caller said he saw the Schrouder brothers as they were filleting fish at a dock at the Libra Marina in Wyandotte. The witness, who then followed the anglers in his boat, said he watched them fillet the fish, place the fillets in a dockside cooler, return to the river to continue fishing, and then repeat this process three or four times.

DNR officers questioned the men, searched their coolers, seized the fish and issued citations. With a search warrant, the DNR was later able to get phone GPS records for additional evidence in the case. 

“This is a great example of how our officers and citizens work together to protect our natural resources,” said Gary Hagler, chief of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division.

After failing to appear for their court date, a bench warrant was issued for both men. Conservation officers found and arrested the two brothers last week. They were arraigned and each ordered to pay $2,070, including $700 in reimbursement for the over-limit of fish and $20 in conservation fees, along with having their fishing licenses revoked for one year.

"With the walleye river run approaching at the end of the month, we want to remind anglers to stay within their daily limits,” Conservation Officer David Schaumburger said. “We also want to encourage others to report crimes such as this one. This caller saved countless fish for other anglers to legally pursue.”  

He added that Detroit River is a "world-class walleye fishery," particularly after the spring spawning run.

“It’s a great opportunity to catch plentiful fish," Schaumburger said. "The Detroit River attracts anglers from all over the United States and Canada.”

As for what became of the walleye, Michigan DNR Sgt. Jason Becker told WWJ Newsradio 950 that in most cases, "whenever possible," it's immediately donated to local churches or food banks.  

Anyone who witnesses or suspects a natural resource violation is encouraged to call or text the Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800. Get more information HERE.