A man in Gaylord, Michigan, is under investigation by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for allegedly poaching sturgeon on Otsego Lake.

The investigation stemmed from a report by a local citizen who reportedly witnessed the man take the 55-inch fish. It was then that a conservation officer went and talked to the suspect.

“The man ultimately confessed to snagging the fish in the abdomen area and pulling it through the ice by hand after drilling several holes around the original hole to remove the sturgeon from the water,” mlive reports the DNR stating.

In Michigan, these huge, prehistoric-looking sturgeon are a highly protected species.

On Otsego Lake, sturgeon can be caught only using a hook and line; snagging is illegal. The angler’s gear used to catch the fish were seized as evidence until the DNR concludes their investigation.

“We appreciate the public’s vigilance as we work together to protect our shared natural resources,” said Lt. Jim Gorno, district supervisor for the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “Our conservation officer quickly followed up on the citizen’s information and identified the suspect through good police work. It’s this type of cooperation that will help us preserve our world-class resources for generations to come.”

Poaching a sturgeon isn’t taken likely in the state of Michigan, and is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine ranging up to $2,000, or both. Those convicted are also liable to losing their fishing license for 3 years. A separate fine of up to $1,500 can also be tacked on for each fish illegally taken. 

Image courtesy Michigan.gov

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