Poaching charges are headed to the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office against a man who was recently found to have allegedly retained five wild coho out of Discovery Bay.
WDFW fish and wildlife officers say he was caught near the mouth of Snow Creek after he’d been targeting the unlawful-to-keep-there salmon with barbed hooks and they will refer seven gross misdemeanor charges of salmon overlimits, fishing in a closed area and illegal gear, along with five infractions for not marking his catch.
According to their report posted to Facebook today, Sergeant Kit Rosenberger was patrolling the bay near where Highways 101 and 20 meet on the northeast side of the Olympic Peninsula when he spotted the man in a rowboat.
At the time, salmon were kegged up in the saltwater waiting for the creek to rise so they could go upstream to spawn, WDFW says.
While Discovery Bay is open for salmon fishing through September 30, it is closed to the retention of wild coho and the daily limit on hatchery coho is two.
“Sgt. Rosenberger knew that the surrounding streams only have wild runs of coho, so there was a high likelihood any salmon the man retained would be wild coho and thus illegal,” WDFW Police reported.
The officer watched him land and keep four salmon, then put on a “cover coat” and grabbed a fishing rod before walking some distance along the beach to where he could intercept the man as he rowed “back towards some waterfront residences.”
When he got close enough, Rosenberger took off his coat, identified himself as a game warden and ordered the man to come to shore.
The man did so and in response to the officer’s question about how the fishing was, he said, “I got a couple,” according to WDFW.
Closer inspection actually turned up five, officers reported. None had been recorded on his punchcard, they said.
What’s more, they allege he had been using a “barbed treble hook” and also didn’t have lifejacket aboard.
“Sgt. Rosenberger contemplated seizing the man’s boat even knowing he would have had to carry it a considerable distance back to his patrol truck,” WDFW reported.