An extra rockfish in the cooler suggested things might be a little fishy aboard the boat coming back into the Hammond Marina one recent evening.
Oregon fish and wildlife troopers had initially contacted the four occupants as they returned from bottomfishing at the South Jetty, at the mouth of the Columbia River.
After finding that 21st fish, the officers decided a fuller search of the boat just might be in order.
In a plastic tote, they found the rest of the crew’s booty — 53 more fish, mostly black rocks but also a small lingcod and a cabezon.
Troopers report they cited and released one person criminally for overlimits of black rockfish and lingcod, unlawfully keeping an undersized ling, and closed-season harvest of cabezon.
The other three were also cited and released criminally for overlimits of rockfish.
The 54 extra fish were all donated to a food bank.
The case is reported in the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division’s latest newsletter, for April, and just posted today.
It also includes details on several Winchester Bay crab scofflaws, including one caught with 17 undersize Dungies and another with 10, and a Brookings kayak angler who’d stashed a couple extra lingcod in his gear bag.
There’s also a clam caper with Washington suspects sans licenses but with 41 gapers, a Newport-area angler who claimed to have forgotten his license at home but a record check for which found he hadn’t bothering buying one since 2013, and details on several case resolutions.