The OSP pilot was looking for poachers spotlighting big game in the hills of Oregon’s South Coast that November night but instead discovered the flashlights of those busy poaching big Chinook in a popular river.
The incident occurred in a closed area of the Elk during combined aerial and ground patrols in Coos and Curry Counties, and during a low return that saw a reduced bag limit on wild fall kings for most coastal streams.
According to the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division’s latest monthly report, after the pilot spotted flashlights on the beach at the mouth of the famed salmon river around 10 p.m. that evening, troopers in trucks moved in to check things out.
As officers attempted to stop a truck leaving the beach, a passenger jumped out and ran off, but was found nearby in the brush when backup arrived.
Meanwhile, troopers detained three others inside the truck, and in the bed of the rig they found nine fresh Chinook. Also located were six rods and a night vision scope.
According to OSP, three of the four admitted that they’d been fishing for half an hour that evening.
It was reported that one, a female, was taken into custody by her parole officer and lodged in the Curry County lockup.
She and two others were all cited for fishing in a prohibited area and during closed hours, snagging, unlawfully possessing game fish, and fishing without a license and without a combined angling tag.
A charge of interfering with officers against the runner was also to be forwarded to county prosecutors.
OSP reports that all of the fish were also seized and donated.
Other cases detailed in the always-interesting — and often infuriating — monthly report of the state police’s Fish and Wildlife Division include details on numerous illegally taken bucks and bulls; the seizure in Burns of the heads of two big game animals taken in Montana — a CWD state — and which still had brain tissue in them; decoy operations; and a bozo who “heard turkeys taste bad and wanted to give them a try,” so using the roof of his car as a rifle rest, he took 10 to 20 shots at a flock in the yard of some residents who were justifiably alarmed because the birds happened to also be near their propane tanks.