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Illegal fishing reported in Perham area

A Perham man found these filleted fish dumped near a local lake in mid-April. About two weeks before that, another Perham resident wrote a letter to the editor to the East Otter Tail Focus reporting dumped fish near Big Pine Lake. Submitted photo

People have been illegally harvesting walleye, northern and other game fish in the Perham area recently, and are even dumping the remains of filleted fish near area lakes.

The season for these fish in Minnesota has been closed this year since Feb. 26 and doesn't reopen until the May 12 fishing opener.

"It's really maddening and discouraging when we [DNR and other agencies] receive reports about illegal walleye and other game fish harvesting," said Chris Vinton, conservation officer for the Minnesota DNR station in Perham.

Vinton and other DNR officials work in conjunction with Turn In Poachers (TIP), a non-profit organization dedicated to curbing the illegal taking of Minnesota's fish and wildlife resources.

"They [TIP] do a great job of working to protect our fish and wildlife," said Vinton. "Information and the person reporting can be kept confidential. People reporting violations are asked to obtain as much information from observation as possible, and to report all violations as soon as possible."

The TIP toll-free number is 1-800-652-9093 and can be accessed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. People also can dial #TIP from their cell phones. If an arrest is made, the person reporting the violation may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

"Since its inception in 1981, this program has been a deterrent to the senseless waste of wildlife and is extremely beneficial to the DNR Enforcement Division," said Vinton.

Honest anglers in Otter Tail County and all across the state say they welcome the crackdown on poachers.

The mid-May opener for game fish allows most walleyes to spawn before being caught by anglers. It ensures that the opener is on a weekend when most anglers can fish.