A Nebraska angler was fined almost $1,200 after a 700-mile fishing trip to northern Minnesota's Lake of the Woods resulted in an over-limit.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officer Robert Gorecki of Baudette was patrolling the nearly 350,000-acre lake on July 31 when he came across James E. Thomsen, 68, of Ashland, Neb. The officer asked Thomsen how the fishing was.
"When I began asking about how many fish he had in possession, he got nervous," said Gorecki.
The current daily and possession limit on Lake of the Woods is six walleyes and not more than one walleye more than 28 inches.
At Thomsen's resort cabin, Gorecki found a freezer containing 53 fillets, or 27 walleyes. Thomsen admitted that several of the fish were over the 28-inch slot limit. He was charged with a gross over-limit of 21 walleyes, and would have to make a court appearance.
After the officer spoke with the Lake of the Woods County attorney the following morning the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor, but the fine and the restitution amounts remained the same as a gross misdemeanor. Thomsen agreed, paid $1,165 in fine and restitution ($535 fine, and $630 restitution), and pled guilty to the violation.
"After he paid the fine, I assisted Mr. Thomsen in hooking his boat trailer to his vehicle, and he left for home. I'm not sure if we will see him here again anytime soon," Gorecki said.
Anyone witnessing a fishing or wildlife violation is encouraged to contact the nearest conservation officer or law enforcement agency or call the toll-free Turn-In-Poacher (TIP) hotline at 800-652-9093. The hotline is available to most cell phone users in Minnesota.
Contact the Minnesota State Patrol or a DNR regional or area office for the name and phone number of the nearest conservation officer.
Seven bags of walleye fillets seized in Lake of the Woods over-limit case of James E. Thomsen of Ashland, Nebraska.