Two Michigan men fined $8.5K for poaching hundreds of walleye, panfish, perch
Stanley Garbacz Jr., 68, of Caseville, and Bruce Warren, 53, of Pigeon, were arraigned in Huron County District Court recently for illegal possession of panfish, perch and walleye.
Garbacz turned himself in to authorities the week of May 10 and faces two charges of over limit possessions; one charge for perch and one charge for walleye, and must pay $7,930 in restitution.
Warren surrendered earlier this week and was arraigned on one charge of taking a daily over limit of perch and owes $600 in mandatory restitution. Both men face additional court fines and costs and could lose their fishing privileges when they are sentenced at a future court appearance.
“Fish rules and regulations are in place to maintain a healthy natural resource,” said Lt. Dave Shaw, Michigan DNR Law Enforcement Division. “Taking over limits by one or more individuals can impact the harvestable population and which could potentially reduce fish species for future generations.”
Michigan DNR Conservation Officer Josh Wright received a tip from the DNR’s Report All Poaching Hotline in March that Garbacz was potentially at his residence in possession of a few hundred perch.
While in route to the Garbacz’s residence, Wright requested assistance from Huron County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joshua Loss, who arrived at the suspect’s home first. Loss confirmed that there were “a lot” of perch being filleted.
Wright arrived at the residence and received permission to count the 170 perch that Garbacz and Warren caught earlier in the day – putting them each over the daily catch limit by 60 perch.
As Wright continued the investigation, he found 85 bags of frozen fish in four of Garbacz’s freezers. Wright thawed and counted the fillets. Based on the Saginaw Bay area daily and possession limits, Garbacz was over limit by:
- 35 walleye; the daily limit is eight. Anglers may possess an additional two days’ limit of walleye as long as they are processed, with a total possession limit of 24.
- 245 panfish; the daily limit it 25. An angler may possess an additional two days’ limit of panfish as long as they are processed, with a total possession limit of 75.
- 393 additional perch; the daily limit it 25. Fishers may possess an additional two days limit of perch as long as they are processed, with a total possession limit of 75.
Processed fish from previous days must be canned or frozen.