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Case File  #50   July 2013

Keeping Fish Alive/Illegal Stocking

On April 22, 2012, Maine Game Warden Brian Tripp received an anonymous complaint from Operation Game Thief (OGT) and was advised that an individual fishing in Ellsworth near Graham Lake was keeping fish alive. The caller provided the license plate number of the vehicle the individual was driving. The vehicle came back to an individual living in Hope, Maine.

Warden Tripp contacted Warden Cliff Littlefield and the two wardens waited along the route in Verona which is on the way back to Hope. The wardens saw and stopped the vehicle. The wardens asked the individual what was in the bucket and cooler in the back of his vehicle. The individual responded, "Fish" and he told the wardens that he was stocking his personal pond. The wardens asked to see the fish. In the bucket were three live hornpout. The wardens asked what kind of fish were in the cooler and the fellow responded "Bass". The cooler contained a large amount of water and six smallmouth bass. All but one bass were alive. The wardens asked if he had caught the fish and he said yes along with some caught by his daughter.

Warden Tripp explained that it was illegal to keep fish alive and explained that illegal stocking of fish could result in a fine up to $10,000. The individual was given a summons to court for Keeping Fish Alive/Illegal Stocking.

This violation is a serious one, and serious for a good reason. The illegal stocking of fish in many of Maine's lakes and ponds has resulted in disastrous effects on our native species. If illegally stocked fish were to escape and get into our lakes and ponds, disastrous effects on our native fish populations will result. One has to look no further than some of Maine's blue-ribbon waters such as Moosehead Lake, the Belgrade Lakes and many others where "bucket biologists" have disrupted native fish species. These nimble-minded people either didn't care or couldn't think that far ahead. Operation Game Thief is there to help protect all of Maine's fish and wildlife resources.

Thank you to the person who took the time to report the violation to Operation Game Thief.


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