WATERBURY, VT – An angler who caught a huge
fish in the White River but didn’t accurately identify his catch,
and kept it to be mounted by a taxidermist, may be paying as much
as $1,500 in fine and restitution for his mistake as well as losing
his licenses for three years.
Angler Ryan McCullough of Bethel was fishing downstream of the
federal fish hatchery in Stockbridge on July 25, when he hooked and
landed a 9.5 lb. andromous Atlantic salmon that measured 31 ½
inches long. He misidentified it as a brown trout and kept it. A
photo of the big fish appeared in the local newspaper.
Fisheries biologists who had previously put radio-transmitters
in Atlantic salmon that had migrated upstream in the Connecticut
River to spawn noticed the photo. They also discovered one of the
two salmon they were monitoring in the White River was now
transmitting its signal from dry land in Bethel.
As a result of an investigation by State Game Warden Keith
Gallant, the missing salmon was located in a freezer in Bethel, and
Mr. McCullough was issued a citation to appear in Windsor Superior
Court on September 27.
“Anglers fishing in the Connecticut River or its tributaries are
urged to correctly identify the fish they catch and immediately
release any salmon,” said Colonel David LeCours, Vermont’s Chief
Game Warden. “Anadromous Atlantic salmon in the Connecticut River
Basin are ‘big game species,’ and the penalties for taking them are