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Utah Men Charged With Cheating in Bass Tournament

Investigators say they weighed in largemouths caught at a different lake.

Utah Men Charged With Cheating in Bass Tournament

Red fins on the weighed-in fish at the Lake Powell tournament was one of the clues that they might have been caught elsewhere. (Photo courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

Two Utah men who were disqualified for allegedly cheating at a bass tournament more than a year ago on Lake Powell were officially charged in the case.

Robert Dennett, 45, and Kamron Wootton, 35, both of Washington City, illegally relocated live fish in a cheating attempt at a two-day tournament in October 2018, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said in a news release. The men were charged with bribery or threat to influence a contest, a third-degree felony; unlawful release of wildlife, a class A misdemeanor; and unlawful captivity of protected wildlife, a class B misdemeanor.

The case began after state conservation officers received a report through the UTIP hotline about the alleged incident on Oct. 21, 2018.

The Utah agency said organizers of the largemouth tournament on Lake Powell noticed the men’s fish looked different from the fish caught by other competitors. The top prize in the tournament was $2,500. The men were in second place and caught the biggest fish after Day 1, but were subsequently DQ’d due to the suspicious nature of their fish.

"Some of the largemouth bass they'd turned in had little heads and fatter bodies, indicating a different diet than the fish at Lake Powell, which were more lean," DWR Lt. Paul Washburn said in the news release. "The fish also had red fins, which indicated they had undergone some stress."

The fish were tested at the University of Utah where it was determined the fish had been caught at Quail Creek Reservoir, the agency said in the news release.

"During the investigation, conservation officers also learned that the men had taken first, second or third place at eight other bass fishing tournaments earlier that year,“ the agency said.

It is illegal to transport live fish to other areas of the state without the proper certifications, and can result in a class A misdemeanor. Dennett and Wootton have an initial court appearance scheduled for June 4.

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