Poacher. In my circle of fishing friends, there isn’t a worse label you can put on someone. We may kid each other sometimes and throw out the P word when a buddy posts a picture of a small fish, but real poaching is not a laughing matter. Many of us lament various fishing regulations, but at the end of the day, they’re there in order to preserve the resource we care so deeply about. Whether it be take limits, size or slot restrictions, or seasonal closures, we all need to abide by the rules and, in some cases, go above and beyond to ensure that our kids and their children can also enjoy this sport. Fly Fisherman‘s Ross Purnell details the exploits of a New Mexico poacher who went over the line in the worst possible way.

NMDGF-100x132A poacher in New Mexico has taken illegal harvest to staggering new depths. After getting an anonymous tip, Department of Game and Fish Conservation Officers found more than 1,600 rainbow trout in the home of Bounchanh Bounsombath of Clovis, New Mexico. That’s more than 160 times the legal possession limit.

Bounsombath, 62, was arrested Monday, May 12, and admitted to catching all the fish at Green Acres Lake and Denis Chaves Pond in northwest Clovis.

“Never in my whole career have I encountered this before,” Col. Robert Griego said. “The extreme excess of this case is aggravating. The department stocks these fish for all sportsmen and women, young and old, with the desire that everyone will have the opportunity to enjoy the fish.”

Photos: New Mexico Department of Game and Fish