Behind the Badge
District Game Warden Michael Raasakka
One common violation that we see when fishing is good is double tripping. Anglers will go out in the morning, catch their limit of fish, bring them in and clean them, and then go back out in the afternoon and catch another limit.
It is a hard violation to catch because most of the time if you check people the first time they will not go back out again. It is a serious violation and one that can have a big impact on the resource.
To catch double trippers usually involves working some type of plain clothes observation. This leads to some interesting things that you see.
One of the funniest was years ago. I was watching the fish cleaning station and observed a group of three individuals. I did not recognize any of them, as I was in plain clothes and decided to go talk to them. They were hanging their fish up on the bragging board at the cleaning station.
The group hung up their 15 walleyes and asked if I could take a picture of them with the fish. I was handed one of their cell phones and being the helpful individual I am, I took a picture of them with their limit of fish.
Later in the afternoon I observed their boat at the ramp again out fishing. I waited for them to come back in.
When they came in, I asked to look at their fish and at this time they had seven in the live well. I informed the individuals that they were overlimit with the fish they had caught in the morning. They stated they had not even been out fishing in the morning. I told them I believed they had been and again they stated they had not.
I then asked them if someone had taken their picture in the morning with the fish. I then stated that it was me who had taken their picture. All their faces went white when they realized it was me. They were all cited for exceeding the daily limit.
Many times, it ends up being a very long day.
One instance I observed two individuals come into the ramp at 9:30 a.m. I followed them back to their trailer, where they took 10 walleyes out of their boat. They waited until 6:30 in the evening when they went back out again. They were the last boat to come off the lake at 10 that evening.
I checked them for fish, and they had 10 walleyes again. I explained to them that 10 this morning and 10 this evening is too many fish. They again stated they had been out with there wives in the morning and were not over their limit.
They wanted me to go back with them and talk to their wives. I then stated I did not need to go back and speak with them because I observed them load the boat at 9:30 in the morning. I then pointed to one individual and told him he drove the pickup. I then told them who had gotten the fish out of the livewell and who held the net. They then looked at me and stated, “can we just pay the fine?”
Sometimes just observing the cleaning station can lead to interesting places people hide fish.
One time while watching the cleaning station, I saw two individuals clean their 10 walleyes. When they were done one had climbed back into the boat and did a quick 360 degree look around to see if anyone was watching. When he was satisfied that no one was watching he reached up underneath the steering wheel area and pulled out two more walleye.
They were rather surprised when I walked up to them. Another time I observed one individual get his five walleyes out of his livewell and then go to the back of the boat and move his sliding door open and removed one more walleye. When I met him at the cleaning station, he stated he must have miscounted. I stated I believe you had a good count as you had your extra fish hidden. He then got red and stated, "you seen that".
All days are not successful. One time I observed two individuals come in with nine fish at 10 in the morning. They were individuals known to me and had been habitual violators. They went back out fishing around noon. I waited six hours for them to return and they were not able to catch a single fish.
Double tripping is a serious violation, and we can use all the help that we can get by turning in people who commit this violation. And to those who do, the next time just think the person cleaning fish next to you may be the game warden.