Dozens of walleye confiscated after conservation officers receive anonymous tip

Contact: Lt. Andrew Turner 517-284-4747
Agency: Natural Resources

April 19, 2019

Jaime Salisbury, walleye, DNR patrol truckThree walleye anglers fishing together yesterday on the Detroit River face losing their fishing licenses after being caught with 80 walleye – 65 over the river’s legal daily limit of five per person, per day.

An anonymous tip to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Report All Poaching Hotline Thursday afternoon said that three males were suspected of exceeding the walleye limit while fishing the Detroit River. The caller provided a description of the anglers’ vehicle and said they were driving from Detroit toward Grand Rapids on I-96 west.

Conservation Officers Peter Purdy and Jaime Salisbury were on patrol in northern Livingston County when they received the notification from the RAP Hotline dispatcher.

After patrolling I-96 for about an hour, Purdy and Salisbury observed a vehicle matching the description provided by the caller. When the driver failed to use a turn signal while changing lanes, the officers stopped the vehicle along the freeway near Okemos Road in Ingham County.

“We asked the driver to be honest and tell us how many walleye the three men had in their possession,” said Salisbury. “The driver hung his head and stated, ’too many.’”

The three males – a 28-year-old from Byron Center, a 38-year-old from Allendale and a 30-year-old from Jenison – admitted to fishing the Detroit River earlier in the day and that they had all caught and kept too many fish.

“Conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers,” said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “This gives them the ability to enforce all Michigan laws. In this case, Officers Purdy and Salisbury were able to initiate a traffic stop to seek information about this poaching tip. I want to thank the individual who informed the RAP Hotline about this poaching event – without their assistance, this case may not have been possible.”

The driver received a citation for failing to use a turn signal; all three men were issued tickets for possessing an over limit of walleye. An Ingham County judge will determine the reimbursement fee and whether the poachers should lose their fishing licenses.

Reimbursement is calculated by weighing each individual fish and then assessing at $10 per pound. 

The legal walleye limit on the Detroit River is five 15-inch walleye per day. In addition to one day’s daily limit, a person may possess an additional two daily possession limits of fish taken during previous fishing days, provided that the additional limits of fish are processed (canned, cured by smoking or drying, or frozen).

If you witness or suspect a natural resource violation, call or text the Report All Poaching hotline, available 24/7, at 800-292-7800. Learn more about Michigan’s conservation officers at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.

Photo: Conservation Officer Jaime Salisbury is pictured with 80 walleye that were poached from the Detroit River Thursday. Salisbury and fellow CO Pete Purdy were patrolling Livingston County when they received an anonymous tip that was called in to the DNR’s RAP hotline. The officers pulled over the suspected poachers’ vehicle in a routine traffic stop, and the anglers admitted to exceeding the daily possession limit.