5 Tips To Catching a Catfish Poacher
September 10, 2015
Poaching trophy catfish is big business. So big, in fact, desperate catfish poachers are going to mind-blowing and illegal extremes to collect on their bragging rights. These outrageous pursuits cast aside concern for individual safety and the damaging impact on catfish populations.
Wildlife agents across the country say that these extreme catfishing measures go far beyond infractions, like fishing without a license or exceeding bag limits, and involve everything from using household appliances as traps to using explosives.
Many states, including Ohio, Missouri and Oklahoma, have bolstered efforts to crack down on poachers who oftentimes break multiple laws while poaching catfishing.
What's the motivation?
"Some of it is profit, some of it is bragging rights for catching the biggest or the most catfish. That is typically what drives folks that leave their home who are intent on breaking the law," said Dirk Cochran of the Ohio Division of Natural Resources (//wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/).
As regulations tighten, poachers get more determined and creative, making it more difficult to catch them. So difficult that in some states, like Oklahoma, game wardens are going undercover as catfish noodlers who are the worst and most destructive offenders based on the kinds of items seized and the number of citations issued.
It has become imperative for fishermen to use anonymous tip lines in order to catch poachers in the act. In Ohio, the Turn In a Poacher (TIP) tipline netted nearly 500 arrests for illegal fishing in the last three years and Operation Game Thief (OGT) in Missouri has netted arrests for illegal wildlife activities that might have otherwise gone undetected.
Game & Fish strongly encourages you to call to your wildlife law enforcement agency if you're aware of any of these extreme poaching methods happening near your favorite fishing hole.