5 Poachers Caught With 143 Trout Before Central WA Lake Opener

Five men who got a jump on the March 1 trout opener at a Columbia Basin lake ended up hooking themselves as well.

WDFW reports that on February 26 an officer got suspicious about men loading fishing gear into two vehicles at Upper Caliche Lake, alongside I-90 near George.

“They initially claimed not to have been fishing, but the officer found several large plastic bags full of fish in both cars,” WDFW reported.

Inside those sacks? A whopping 143 rainbow trout, the agency alleges.

A WDFW IMAGE SHOWS MANY OF THE 143 RAINBOW TROUT POACHED OUT OF UPPER CALICHE LAKE BEFORE THE MARCH 1 OPENER. (WDFW)

That equates to 2 percent of all the trout stocked last year for this month’s opener, though there could be carryovers from previous seasons swimming around in Caliche too, depending on catch rates and fry survival.

“Even if the season had been open they would have been 118 trout over their daily limit,” the agency reports.

That’s a potential gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and fine of $5,000, but charges will be up to the Grant County Prosecutor’s Office.

As it stands, WDFW cited the quintet for exceeding the daily limit in the first degree, as well as fishing during a closed season. One was also cited for no license. A sixth men with them was not fishing.

All the trout were seized and donated to a food bank in Moses Lake.

Unfortunately, it’s not the only example of piggish behavior of late, with the Westside representing too.

WDFW reports a case on Oakland Bay, by Shelton, in which two women and a man were contacted while walking off the beach carrying a big bucket allegedly containing “more than 12 times the allowable daily limit of clams.”

Another container in the brush held illegally shucked oyster shells.

“They were cited for first degree exceeding the bag limit and harvesting without licenses,” WDFW reported.

Two illegal gillnets were also pulled from the Columbia near Cascade Locks. Suspects were reportedly identified by Columbia River Inter-tribal Enforcement officers.

One thought on “5 Poachers Caught With 143 Trout Before Central WA Lake Opener”

  1. I hope you follow up with names of these abusers.

    When “sportsmen” like these are actually just insults to real sportspersons, public shaming is a valid element of the crime.

    That, and a max penalty for both money and jail.

    The sight of those trout turned my stomach.

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