LEECH LAKE (WCCO) — They’re what Minnesota fishermen want to catch, so seeing hundreds of dead Northerns and Walleyes isn’t sitting well with many.
A hunter says he found the large fish kill about 10 miles east of Leech Lake just a few days ago. The strong odor led him to them. Then, on Thursday, he took Bob Auel, an avid fisherman and summer fishing guide, to the site.
“It was quite a rotting pile of fish,” said Auel by phone from Walker, Minn.
Auel said the pile is a good two feet deep, and the fish look like they were dumped near the lake recently. He estimated the pile is around 300 fish, but likely many more. There are Tullibees, Muskies and five pound Northerns. Thirty-inch Walleyes were in the pile, too.
“They cleaned the Walleyes, which were the best ones, and left the rest of the fish to rot. I mean, it’s Wanton Waste,” said Auel, adding that logs covered the pile. “It was so far back in the woods. It’s obvious the people who did it didn’t want anyone to know about it, because it took me over an hour to find this location.”
Auel notified State Conservation Officers and Leech Lake Reservation Conservation Officers, hoping an investigation will soon start. A Tribal Conservation Officer plans to head to the area late Friday or Saturday.
Under Tribal Law, Wanton Waste carries a stiff penalty, including a $100 fine and then another $20 for each dead fish.
“It’s a natural resource for all of us to use and respect,” said Auel. “I think people who do that have a disregard for our resources.”
Auel hopes officers stop whoever killed the fish from doing it again on one of Minnesota’s premier fishing lakes.