Three Michigan men face charges after an anonymous tip led officers to their haul of 80 walleyes — 65 fish over the legal limit.
According to the Michigan DNR, the men had allegedly caught the fish last week at the Detroit River, where the daily limit is five per person.
The tipster called the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Report All Poaching Hotline Thursday afternoon and reported the suspected illegal fishing by the men, along with a description of the vehicle they were driving, and where they were headed on I-96 from Detroit toward Grand Rapids.
Conservation Officers Peter Purdy and Jaime Salisbury located the vehicle matching the description and made a traffic stop after the driver failed to use the turn signal to change lanes.
“We asked the driver to be honest and tell us how many walleye the three men had in their possession,” said Salisbury. “The driver hung his head and stated, ’too many.’”
The men admitted they all had caught and kept too many walleye.
“Conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers,” DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler said in a news release. “This gives them the ability to enforce all Michigan laws. In this case, Officers Purdy and Salisbury were able to initiate a traffic stop to seek information about this poaching tip. I want to thank the individual who informed the RAP Hotline about this poaching event – without their assistance, this case may not have been possible.”
All three men were issued tickets for possessing an over-limit of walleye. An Ingham County judge will determine the reimbursement fee and whether the poachers should lose their fishing licenses. Reimbursement is calculated by weighing each individual fish and then assessing $10 per pound.
If you witness or suspect a natural resource violation, call or text the Report All Poaching hotline, available 24/7, at 800-292-7800. Learn more about Michigan’s conservation officers at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.