Lake of the Woods: 12 charged, 80 violations

St. Paul — The DNR’s Enforcement Division last week announced that a special operation on Lake of the Woods in January – one that involved around 40 conservation officers – has resulted in the charging of 12 people with a total of 80 violations, ranging from walleye overlimits to illegal bear guiding.

Lake of the Woods County court officials said earlier this week that case filing hadn’t occurred, and names of the 12 defendants weren’t yet available.

However, a DNR press release enumerated the misdemeanor charges, which include the following angling violations: 23 walleye overlimits, 19 charges for packing fish without a packing license, 10 for transporting walleyes without a skin patch, two each for transporting “undressed” walleyes from special regulation lakes and depositing litter into a lake, and one each for angling while having a revoked license, an unattended line, an illegal-length walleye, illegally culling walleyes, and angling with an extra line.

Other violations, also misdemeanors, included: five charges for bear guiding without a guiding license, three charges each for failing to register bear bait stations and failing to display identification at bear bait sites, two charges for possession of waterfowl without markings, and one charge each for failing to register a deer, transporting a loaded firearm, discharging a firearm from a moving watercraft, unlawful “gifting” of waterfowl, attempting to illegally take ruffed grouse, and operating an unregistered ATV.

Besides a fine, a charge of an overlimit of walleye also could include restitution for the extra fish.

Phil Meier, DNR Enforcement operations manager, said each walleye 22 inches or smaller that is part of an overlimit cost $30 in restitution. Anything larger than that cost an additional $10 for each inch over 22.

Col. Ken Soring of DNR Enforcement says investigators focused on guided fishing operations. He says summonses have been mailed to the 12 defendants.

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