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Here is the WHOLE story of the "Gill Netters". Say, "thank you" Steve

Discussion in 'Central Ohio Fishing Reports' started by trucked, Apr 8, 2004.

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    Illegal method used to net 108 saugeye on Hoover Reservoir
    Published: Sunday, April 4, 2004
    SPORTS 15E
    By Dave Golowenski
    Wayne Gray of Westerville reacted to the report of possible poaching at his favorite local fishing hole, Hoover Reservoir, with the same passion that he pursues fish.

    "I'd just like to see full enforcement of the law,'' he said.

    What exactly that might entail for Columbus residents Jiahe Weng, 39, and Hua-Xin Ye, 28, won't be known until their Franklin County Municipal Court date, scheduled April 14.

    The court appearance is related to citations issued to the men after wildlife officers spotted them early Tuesday morning pulling up a gill net perhaps 40 feet in length that had been attached by rope to a rail at the east side of Hoover Dam.

    "They had a large plastic tub with a lid and snaps on top,'' said witness Brad Kiger, the Franklin County wildlife officer for the Ohio Division of Wildlife. "They were pulling the last part of the net in and putting the net and its contents in the bucket.''

    The contents added up to 111 animals -- one shad, two white bass and 108 saugeyes -- and a significant problem for the net pullers. The daily bag limit on saugeye is six. Except for a handful of permit holders on Lake Erie, the netting of any game fish is illegal. Without a special permit granted only to researchers and a few others on a case-by-case basis, mere possession of a gill net is illegal in Ohio.

    "It's the first gill net case we've had in the state in maybe five or six years,'' said Ken Fitz, wildlife officer supervisor for central Ohio. "Gill nets have been illegal since the 1970s. They're indiscriminate killers.''

    Gill nets, once used for commercial fishing on Lake Erie, work by allowing fish that have attained a certain size, typically the minimum retail size, to pass their heads but not their bodies into the large mesh. When fish try to escape, they end up snared by their own gill plates and fins. Unable to breathe properly, they quickly succumb.

    Kiger said he issued citations covering three charges: illegal possession of a gill net, taking fish by an unlawful method and possessing more than the daily limit of saugeye. The charges are fourth-degree misdemeanors, punishable by up to a $250 fine and 30 days in jail.

    "I have asked for restitution,'' he said. "The minimum value placed on each fish -- whether we'll get it I don't know -- is $10.''

    The questions of guilt and innocence, punishment and restitution will be in the hands of Judge Harland H. Hale, who presides over the Environmental Division of the court.

    Most ardent anglers, that is, the ones who play by the rules and buy the licenses that underwrite the raising and stocking of game fish, get some satisfaction when poachers are nabbed. Joe Wolf, a Hoover saugeye aficionado from Westerville, paused to consider how many hours and outings with limit catches of six that are required to amass 108 keepers.

    "I caught 500 last year, although I didn't keep them all. A lot I threw back,'' he said. "But 108 in one night is one-fifth of my year's catch, and I fish all the time.''

    A more typical angler might not catch 108 saugeyes during an entire season. Or two.

    Tips from anglers led to the catch at Hoover. Someone reported seeing a net as long as a year ago, but by the time the word got to officers no evidence could be found. In early March, another tip put Columbus watershed rangers on alert.

    A ranger who spotted the rope late Monday night phoned Kiger, who called at least two more officers to begin a vigil near the site. A little after 2 a.m. in a downpour, the two men with the tub of 1 1/2 - to 2-pound saugeyes were apprehended near the end of their rope.

    Despite the hour, the officers' catch "was great,'' Kiger said. "Occasionally you'll get guys overbagging. But how many times do you get guys with 108 fish?''

    The adjudication involving Ye and Weng aside, the case of the purloined saugeyes might not end with the April 14 hearing.

    The investigation has led to the area restaurant where the two men have been employed. Officers found 25 saugeyes at the restaurant, and ownership isn't saying where the fish came from. Nor has a determination been made whether the apparently local saugeye have been sold and served to customers, which would be illegal, even a felony if the value of the fish reached $1,000.

    Wildlife officials, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation, declined to name the restaurant Thursday or to go into much detail. However, a wildlife division communication noted that the "25 fish seized as evidence . . . appeared to have been taken with a gill net.''

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  2. Bassnpro1

    Bassnpro1 OSU outdoorsman

    Thanks for the story. I hope they get the maximum penalty

  3. Fishman

    Fishman Catch bait???

    Wow thats one heck of a story... I hope they get hit hard as far as fines go.
  4. THEY NEED TO DEPORT THEM SOB'S :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:
  5. Let's all remember, just like the tipsters in this case, we must all do our part. A few years ago I reported to officers at Alum Creek about a boater (I was shore-bound then) putting every bass that he and his son caught into his livewell. Some example for a 7-8 year old!! They were even keeping 6-8 inch fish. I don't know what happened in that case, but if all of us try to help all law enforcement officers, it makes their job easier. Not only that, but after a couple of times of reporting, the poachers go elsewhere because of the reputation for the area, and of the fear of getting caught. Win-Win for us all.
    As a tip, if you carry a cell phone, put the local wildlife officers number in the phones memory.
  6. I was wondering why I could never catch any saugeye in hoover. Now I know. They should be penalized to the maximum allovable by law. We pay for our fishing licenses which help with stocking and they just go in and take what they want for their restaurant. The restaurant should be heavily fined as well in my opinion. There is no excuse for this.
  7. Anyone have any idea on the resturant? Want to make sure I'm not eating there.
  8. WoW! Unbelieveable! Sure seems like they've clearly been selling the fish outta that rest for a while now. Sure glad they got nabbed. Duckhound...Amen brother on what you said. What's that phone #? I see guys keeping dinks and want to call. I usually call the offender a "DINKEATER" to their face.
  9. TeamEDream

    TeamEDream Follow the Dream.....

    I love to hear when any poacher gets caught. Now let's see the courts do their job and I'll be really happy. Special thanks to the man who had his eyes open and turned in the tip, thanks to the wildlife officers for following through and thanks to TRUCKED for posting the thread. In the Marine Corps. we worked hard to protect each other and what we loved and as fisherman we should all do the same. Great Report,Thanks!
  10. For anyone interested in the Cell Phone idea, the state has a hotline. It's in the pamphlet you get when you buy your license...or


    Otherwise you can use the same pamphlet to get the local Wildlife Officer's number in the county you will be at.
  11. JBJ


    Have there been any updates as to their trial etc. seeing as yesterday was the 14th?
  12. Bucktail

    Bucktail Banned

    I can only say this, bookem Danno Poachin 1... :mad:
  13. I saw on another site that the place they were taking the fish was the Panda Inn.