Yesterday, July 1, I was fishing right under the falls at Lundbreck when a bait rig got plunked in from the tourist viewing deck on the canyon rim above. I was obviously pissed that this idiot had the nerve to;
1. Cast his line directly into the water I was fishing
2. Did the above using bait in waters where bait is restricted, C&R only
3. Continue to do so after I gave the “are you ****ing kidding me” death stare with accompanying hand/arm gestures
My first thought was to go up there and snap his rod and maybe his neck etc. but being a law abiding citizen I decided calling RAP and reporting the unlawful use of bait was the appropriate remedy to the whole unfortunate scene. No cell service at water level so I’d have to go up to the rim either way. But before I could do that, the poacher hooked into a large (22-26”) bull trout and began attempting to haul it from the pool up to the canyon rim where he was positioned. This is probably 50 feet. I immediately started yelling at him to stop. Which he didn’t. I got my net out and yelled at him to steer his line towards the net (fish was already dangling in the air at this point) hoping that some reason might prevail and that it could be safely landed and released. He refused that too. After a minute or two of yelling with no response from the poacher I got the phone out and started recording video. Once his bobber was at the end of his rod he started trying to walk backwards to pull the fish up, no longer able to reel any further. It was obviously a struggle and in the video you can see the fish go higher into the air and then lowering back down several times. Another minute or two of his stupidity passed before his line finally snapped from the friction of dragging it over the guard rail and the fish fell 20-30+ feet, hitting rock at the edge of pool and splashing back into water, probably no longer alive or certainly dying shortly thereafter.
I ran up to the canyon rim, recording again, and confronted this ***hole who, incidentally, was now trying to rig up another bare/snell hook when I tore into him about what he’d just done. As I walked away dialing RAP I could hear him asking me if I got any pictures, he actually thought I was taking photos for him to keep as souvenirs. A CO was dispatched and I got in my vehicle and followed the poacher, who was on foot, and watched where he went. The CO found him, charged him to failure to release a fish in least harmful way, and is organizing evidence to hopefully lay an additional charge for the use of bait.
Keep an eye out for this guy and if you see him doing anything questionable call it in.
PW for videos is protect our waters (no spaces). If any issues with the video links let me know