A northern Minnesota angler pleaded guilty on Friday in Fort Frances, Ontario, to an over-possession of fish, costing him nearly $500 and a chance to register the 52-pound, 3-ounce lake trout he caught in February as a world record.
Rob Scott, 65, of Crane Lake landed the huge trout on a tip-up Feb. 8 while fishing on Lac la Croix on the Minnesota-Ontario border. He was alone at the time, and earlier had kept a smaller trout, which he gave to a nephew after pulling the bigger fish through the ice.
The Ontario daily lake trout limit is one.
Patrolling on snowmobiles, two Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources officers had checked Scott when he had his first fish lying on the ice. Later, the officers read a newspaper account about Scott's hourlong battle with the bigger fish, and recalled their earlier visit with him.
Working cooperatively with Ontario officials, a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officer confiscated the fish from a Duluth taxidermist. The trout was returned to Canada.
DNR officers also interviewed Scott and his nephew in Crane Lake, and Scott conceded the violation.
In court Friday, Scott was represented by a Fort Frances lawyer who was familiar, Scott said, with hunting and fishing cases.
"My primary concern was that I wouldn't lose access to Canada, or lose my Canadian fishing license,'' Scott said. "Fortunately, this offense didn't meet the criteria for denying me access or a license in Canada.''
Scott had hoped to register the fish with the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wis., as the world record lake trout caught on a tip-up. The current record, caught in 1996 in Vermont, is 29 pounds, 6 ounces.
The trout instead will remain with Ontario authorities and is not eligible for record status, Hall of Fame director Emmett Brown said, because it was caught illegally. Scott nonetheless will have a replica made of it.
Scott returned to Lac la Croix by snowmobile on Saturday to fish and kept one lake trout, which he said he ate that night. On Sunday in the same spot that yielded the 52-pounder, he caught a 26-pound trout. The fish was caught on a jig and shiner, and 6-pound-test line.