A Baudette, Minn., man recently was fined $3,500 for taking 44 walleyes over the limit.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers ticketed Robert Allen Hansen, 67, on June 20. Officers said Hansen caught the fish on Lake of the Woods and stored them in a refrigerator-freezer at his home. Officers Robert Gorecki and Jeremy Woinarowicz said they acted on an anonymous Turn In Poachers (TIP) telephone call saying that Hansen had been fishing for several days and keeping a limit each day.
"I was notified he had been bragging to individuals about how many fish he had caught, and stated he was on his way to fish again while leaving the Zippel Bay State Park water access," Gorecki said.
The conservation officers caught up with Hansen later that day with several walleyes in his possession. Gorecki said that during their investigation, Hansen gave them permission to search his residence for fish.
The officers discovered Hansen's refrigerator-freezer had 22 packages of frozen fish containing 77 walleyes. Woinarowicz said Hansen lived at the residence with his wife and two children, so the family could only legally possess 32 walleyes. The officers elected to fine Hansen for having 44 fish over the limit. The legal walleye/sauger limit on Lake of the Woods is eight.
(Not more than four can be walleyes; only one walleye over 28 inches is allowed. Walleyes between 19.5 and 28 inches must be immediately released.)
Hansen pled guilty Sept. 24 in Lake of the Woods County District Court to one charge of gross misdemeanor over limit of walleye. He was sentenced to one year in jail -- stayed if no same or similar incidents -- one-year probation, fined $3,000 plus court fees, and ordered to pay $495 in restitution. Because of a plea agreement, Hansen was allowed to keep his fishing privileges if he paid the fines and restitution in full.
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