Washington Agencies Conduct Sting Operation, Apprehend Gill-Net Poachers

One of 2 Chinook Salmon released from the illegal net

Now, this is one poaching arrest we would have liked to have watched in person. Under the cover of darkness, Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife officers, in cooperation with Columbia River Inter-tribal Fisheries Police and Washington State Patrol, deftly ambushed poachers who were using a 160-foot long gill-net to illegally catch salmon and sturgeon. Read the full story below:

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From Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife:

“WDFW Region 5 Officers, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Enforcement, and Washington State Patrol worked two-night patrols attempting to catch a subject gillnetting near the mouth of the Wind River. On the second night, Officer Whipple hid in the brush with Sergeant McQuary, Captain Wickersham and a WSP Trooper were hiding close by. The officers heard a boat on the Columbia and within a few minutes, the suspect’s boat was motoring blacked out into the mouth of the Wind River. Officer Whipple observed two subjects on board set a gillnet. The subjects then pulled the net and reset it. After the net was set the two subjects parked their boat under the bridge.

Since one of the subjects was a known runner, assistance was requested from the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office. Two deputies set up upstream, Inter-Tribal Fisheries Enforcement was on a boat in the main stem while WDFW Sergeant McQuary, Captain Wickersham, and a WSP Trooper contacted the suspects. Completely surprised and with nowhere to run they were detained.

The net was pulled and discovered to be approximately 160 feet long. The net soaked for less than an hour and already had two salmon and a sturgeon caught. The fish were released alive and the net was seized. A report will be forwarded to the prosecutor for charging.”

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