In wake of four Americans being charged with taking more than 100 fish over their limit on the U.S. side of Rainy River last week, local MNR enforcement officer Doug Gibb downplayed the notion that there is a problem of overfishing on the river.
“[Overfishing is] about the same. We’ve issued a number of summons—about 30-35 charges since the river opened up around March 20,” Gibb said from his office here yesterday morning.
Gibb said most of the offences involved anglers not possessing a valid fishing licence but added some were charged for possession of over-sized walleye.
Provincial law states no walleye over 50 cm may be kept. And a new law passed in February reduces the limit for keeping walleye caught on the Canadian side of Rainy River to two fish.
Anglers fishing on the U.S. side are still entitled to keep six fish but Minnesota has plans to switch to a two-fish limit for next year.
The four men, including an International Falls resident and three others from Wisconsin, were arrested after Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources received an anonymous tip from the state’s “Turn In Poachers” line.
Gibb said people here can inform the local MNR of any suspected or known offences by calling the ministry directly (274-5337) or Crime Stoppers.
But he noted the MNR would prefer if people called their office directly so conservation officers could react to the tip in a much quicker fashion.
Four conservation officers are employed at the MNR’s Fort Frances office.
Gibb also downplayed the notion that Americans, more specifically those living outside Minnesota, make a habit of coming here to over-fish Rainy River at this time of year.
“People come here to fish from all over, and although we charge more Americans, we simply have more Americans from South Dakota and other states coming up here to fish,” he noted.