Fishing over the limit nets big fine, loss of boat
An Illinois angler faces nearly $2,200 in fines and restitution, plus the loss of his boat and equipment, following an investigation by conservation officers with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Charles H. Siegerdt, 54, Keenyville, Illinois, was recently found with a gross over the limit of 21 bass (42 fillets) and 19 northern pike (38 fillets) at an Itasca County resort. The daily possession limit in Minnesota is six bass and three northerns.
“Mr. Siegerdt admitted to possessing an over limit in the initial contact, about 14 bass and northerns combined,” said Conservation Officer Jayson Hansen of Big Fork.
When asked where he kept his fish, Siegerdt pointed to the resort cabin he had been staying at and said the fish were in the cabin freezer.
Siegerdt led the officer into the cabin and opened the freezer.
“The freezer was full of plastic bags with frozen fish in them. I immediately recognized this as over the legal limit,” Hansen said.
When asked if he had skin patches on all the fillets, Siegerdt said, “No.”
Minnesota law requires anglers leave at least a one-square-inch patch of skin with scales so fish species can be identified when transporting them.
Siegerdt said he had been coming to Minnesota to fish for 35 years.
Siegerdt asked if he had to pay the fine and restitution immediately; he was told he could, or he could pay it later, or he could go to court.
“Mr. Siegerdt said he wasn’t going to fight anything,” Hansen said.
Conservation officers also confiscated Siegerdt’s boat, boat motor, and boat trailer. He also surrendered two rods and reels. Those items will be auctioned off at a later date with the proceeds going to the DNR’s Game and Fish Fund.
Siegerdt was cooperative during the investigation.
“After collecting his personal items from the boat he reached out and shook our hands, said he understood, and said it wouldn’t happen again,” Hansen said.
Hansen added, “Basically I want people to understand that if they are caught with a gross over limit they will face large fines, loss of privileges in all Wildlife Violator Compact states, and the loss of their equipment.”
The Wildlife Violator Compact is an agreement between states that recognizes the suspension of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses in member states. Minnesota is one of 43 states that participate in the compact.
Anyone witnessing a fish or wildlife violation is encouraged to contact the 24-hour, toll-free Turn In Poachers (TIP) hotline at 800-652-9093. Cell phone users can dial #TIP.