Fishing, there's nothing better than casting out a line and waiting to reel in a trophy. But as Minnesotans, we also know that we have to fish responsibly. A couple from Southern Minnesota was recently caught with 200 + fish in their possession. 

A timely call from a fellow fisherman in southern Minnesota resulted in charges against a Mountain Lake couple who were caught with 273 crappies in their possession after exploiting a hot bite on Fairmont’s Lake Sisseton.

According to the Star Tribune, Minnesota Conservation Officer Dustin Miller said Tuesday that this case is a prime example of how anonymous informants under the Turn In Poachers [TIP] program can strengthen the hands of local game wardens in protecting state resources.

The tip Miller was referring to came in around 8 p.m. May 20 from a fisherman who had caught 13 crappies on Lake Sisseton in a matter of minutes. The tipster observed a group of six people fishing in the same vicinity for a much longer period. The caller had watched the group catch and keep more than 100 crappies.

Miller, along with other law enforcement responded by tracing one of the vehicles to an apartment in Mountain Lake. They knocked on the door and asked the husband and wife for permission to inspect their freezer.

Miller said the suspects initially denied catching more than their limit of 10 crappies each in Fairmont earlier in the day. When the officers opened a chest-style freezer in the apartment with the couple’s permission, they removed 25 bags of fish averaging nine or 10 crappies to a bag. Two-thirds of the fish were frozen “in the round,” meaning they were uncut and whole. Other crappies were cut and cleaned in “butterfly” fashion and looked to be older, the report said.

The man was identified as 70-year-old Isouvahn Xayachack of Mountain Lake and his wife, 60-year-old Chanhthone Phongsim. Both were charged with possession of fish over the limit.

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