Lake of the Woods fishing guide sentenced for too many fish

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A Lake of the Woods fishing guide has been been sentenced to pay $770 in fines, restitution and court fees for keeping too many walleyes and saugers while guiding clients on a two-day fishing trip.

Dennis Neal Anderson, 61, Williams, Minn., was guiding a group of six anglers found with 54 walleyes and saugers—12 more than allowed for a seven-person limit, court documents show. In addition to a $325 fine, Anderson was ordered to pay $360 in restitution and $85 in court fees.

According to court documents, the violation was discovered during a routine check by Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Ben Huener, who was working a patrol on the Rainy River with the U.S. Coast Guard. When checked Aug. 1, Anderson and his clients had 15 walleyes and eight saugers in a cooler onboard the boat; the guide said they were keeping fish for his limit, as well, court documents show.

Anglers can keep an aggregate limit of six walleyes and saugers on Lake of the Woods, of which no more than four can be walleyes. All walleyes from 19½ inches to 28 inches on Lake of the Woods must be released.

In Minnesota, the daily limit is the same as the possession limit.

Huener then asked to see the fish from the previous day's trip and determined Anderson was storing 31 fish in three bags, one with frozen fish, marked with packing slips in a refrigerator onshore at the resort where he worked. Anderson initially claimed one bag with 13 fish didn't belong to his group but eventually admitted all three bags were part of their catch, court records show. That brought their two-day total to 54 fish; the most they legally could possess—even with the guide's limit—was 42 fish.

Speaking to the clients, Huener said the anglers appeared to be leaving the counting of fish to Anderson, but some of them also assumed they would be eating fresh fish that night and were hoping to leave the next morning with their limit, court documents show.

Huener issued warning tickets to the anglers and cited Anderson, court documents show.

All of the fish were seized, along with the cooler.