Poachers really upset me. For one thing, when these poaching stories circulate around the general public they paint even good, law abiding anglers in a bad light. Secondly, poachers are stealing my fun… not only in the short term, but possibly long term with the impact they have to a local fishery. Just being out and about, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with a few game wardens and I applaud them for the work they do.

A story recently came to light about the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. They recently conducted an undercover operation that has implicated 31 people. It may be the biggest poaching bust in 20 years. Read the details of their Operation Squarehook in this article from WCCO/CBS Minnesota.

square_walleyeThe Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is sharing new details into “Operation Squarehook.” That is the codename of the undercover operation that netted at least 31 people in what is being described as the largest fishing bust in some 20 years.

Those charged are accused of engaging in the illegal commercialization of Minnesota game fish. Ten members of the Red Lake and Leech Lake bands are charged in Federal Court with selling legally netted walleye. That is a violation of tribal code and the U.S. Lacey Act, which strictly prohibits commercial sale of fish and game.

The two-year investigation discovered that “tens of thousands of walleye” were being netted from Lake Winnibigoshish, Leech, Cass and Red Lakes. The tribal netting itself started as a legal take but violated the law once those fish were put up for sale.

Photos: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (top); Minnesota StarTribune (above)