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Angler hundreds of fish over the legal limit faces fines

June 4, 2012

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

The sharp eye of a conservation officer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources netted Chien Van Tran, 39, of Otsego, with 413 sunfish and 30 crappies over the legal limit.

That’s a gross misdemeanor offense carrying a maximum $3,000 fine and one year in county jail. Restitution value for the fish is $2,015.

If convicted, Tran could lose his fishing privileges for three years. He’s scheduled to appear in Wright County Court May 30.

State Conservation Officer Rick Reller of Buffalo watched as Tran placed a bag of fish in a locked compartment of his boat before leaving Pelican Lake in Wright County on April 4.

“I asked how fishing was and if he had any fish onboard the boat,” said Reller. “He stated the fishing was ‘okay’ and he showed me a cooler with approximately a dozen panfish in it.”

Panfish is a term commonly used by anglers to refer to any small catch that will fit in a pan, but is large enough to be legal. This includes sunfish and crappies.

Asked several times if there were other fish on the boat Tran said “no.”

He eventually admitted that there were more fish on board, around 100. The total was 134 sunfish and 19 crappies.

The state daily/possession limit is 20 sunfish and 10 crappies.

Reller asked Tran if he had any more fish at home.

With Tran’s permission, a check of a freezer found 11 bags of fish containing 299 sunfish and 21 crappies bringing the total number to 413 sunfish and 30 crappies over the legal limit.

“I told Mr. Tran that I would be seizing all the fish,” Reller said. “I also advised him that I was seizing his boat, motors, trailer, and fishing license as part of a gross misdemeanor over limit of fish.”

Anyone witnessing a fishing or wildlife violation is encouraged to contact the nearest conservation officer, law enforcement agency or the toll-free Turn-In-Poacher (TIP) hotline at 800-652-9093.

Also, #TIP is available to most cell phone users in Minnesota.

People should contact the Minnesota State Patrol or a DNR regional or area office for the name and phone number of a conservation officer in their area.

Howard Lake GND Fishing Contest is coming up June 23

The 30th annual Howard Lake Good Neighbor Days Fishing Contest is scheduled for Saturday, June 23 at Howard Lake.

Registration will take place the 23rd from 7 to 8 a.m., with a shotgun start at 8 a.m., and it will end at noon.

Entries will be limited to the first 200 received.

Entry fee is $30 if received by Saturday, June 16, and will go up to $35 after June 16.

Entry forms and additional information is available at www.howardlakegoodneighbordays.webs.com.

For more information, contact Denny Decker at (320) 543-2992.

CO weekley reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) worked on a TIP call of carp being dumped in the ditch.
Bow fishermen please take the carp home.
CO Mies worked two AIS work crews and a boat and water crew.
CO Mies also checked anglers.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked anglers and boaters on area lakes.
ATV activity was also up in the area with several complaints called in.
A TIP call was investigated and numerous animal calls followed up on. Enforcement action was taken for operating an ATV on a roadway and allowing illegal operation by a youth.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) handled injured and orphaned animal calls.
Worked AIS details finding compliance getting better on removing drain plugs from watercraft.
Worked a boat and water safety detail at Red Lake on the Red Lake recovery plan.

• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) worked boating enforcement on Lake Minnetonka over the busy holiday weekend.
One individual was arrested for a felony BUI and his boat was seized.
She also focused time on invasive species violations at accesses around Lake Minnetonka.
Numerous drain plug violations were encountered along with boaters transporting aquatic vegetation and zebra mussels.
She also worked a turkey hunting complaint.

• CO Wayne Hatlestad (Litchfield) checked angling, boating, and AIS activity.
Additional time was spent checking turkey hunting and ATV activity.
Hatlestad also continues work on a pre-employment background check, and assisted with academy training at Camp Ripley.
Public waters issues were also handled.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) concentrated his efforts on Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) enforcement in the area. 
Compliance with removing plugs from watercrafts has improved in the area. 
CO Oberg also worked angling and ATV enforcement in the area.
CO Oberg would like to remind anglers the possession limit on walleye on area lakes and rivers is six, this includes fish you have at home. 
If you have TIP information log on to www.dnr.state.mn.us/enforcement/tipreportingform.html, or call, the TIP Hotline toll-free number 1-800-652-9093 or Cell:  #TIP. Enforcement action was taken for AIS, ATV, and turtle violations.