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.

Comments (19)
  1. Jake says:

    I’m not a bit surprised.

  2. Larry F. says:

    Where’s the old dude sitting on a horse with a tear in his eye?

  3. deez nutz says:

    I agree rocky, Take netting away. EFF THE 1838 treaty. outdated and abused

  4. Kris A. says:

    Where in the article does it say that they suspect, much less have any sort of proof, that it is some one from the tribe? Both State and Tribal conservation officers were contacted, indicating that they don’t know who could have done it. In a bad local economy, could have been anyone.

  5. White man smart says:

    ^Your not serious in the mornings are you!? Everyone in the area knows what is going on. The bad economy line is pretty funny. Anyone with access to a gill net and a boat to pull it is not on tough times. Besides, anyone that is on skid row would keep all those fish so they could eat all winter long. It gets pretty cold up here city slicker! There is a reason why people cut nets on Winnie this summer! Once again the “natives” are showing how worthless they can be, and how much they do not deserve sovereign rigths anymore. Everyday the food shelves are open, the indians are first in line. WHY? The government doesn’t give them enough money already? Nope. Because things like this. They do not care about anyone but themselves. That goes for immediate family as well. Terrible story of wasted natural resources.

  6. stu west says:

    My fear is that the monied interests will bury this story. Pretty narrow coverage so far…

  7. rocky says:

    The articel does not have to say WHO DID it….we all know the answer, only you suckers that go by the book don’t have a clue……Ingens did it with there gill nets. Got it?

  8. The pond says:

    Yeah,I’m sure a group of non-natives drove way back in the woods on rez land to dump the fish,every year this happens and we only see a small fraction of what they are doing(indians) Soon their selfish greed and desfuctional ways will put an end to this non-sense,its time to band the gil nets.

  9. Kevin Eicher says:

    Well Whom EVER Did it White yellow black or Red the sob’s Should be Hung with a New dam Rope Because its Stupid Completly Stupid stuff like this Thats making Fishing More & More Difficult For ALL the Little People in this World Pretty soon there Will Be NO Fish For ALL the 5 Yr olds & Up Because of the Greedy people that do stuff like this ALL i can Say They Best DAM HOPE I’M NOT THE JUDGE IN THIS CASE BECAUSE I WILL PROSECUTE THEM RIGHT TO THE END & to the FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW !!!! Enough Said

  10. Jon says:

    Thanks for bringing this problem to everyones attention

  11. Jake says:

    Yeah, kinda of like that bunch of fish that got dumped on the north side of Mille Lacs Lace in Aitkin Co. a year or two ago. ZERO arrests. Isn’t it funny how all of these BIG fish dumps pop up near a reservation?? Sure, it could be whitey trying to make the natives look bad, but I can’t think of any. They either don’t have the time, the energy, or want to risk getting caught.

  12. Mark says:

    This happens all the time. I spend a lot of time 4-wheeling in the Chippewa National Forest, and I encounter at least two fish dumps each year, usually late spring, in the Cass Lake/Pike Bay area on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. With each dump I usually find at least one tan-colored storage or processing tub labeled with the Red Lake Fisheries logo in red ink. (you make the connection, for I have not been able to). Numbers have ranged from 50 to 200 game fish ranging in size from 2 to 10 lbs. I suspect that netters are not checking their nets as frequenty as required, and snagged fish begin rotting before being retrieved for tribe consumption. Instead of leaving excessive kills for predator consumption (eagles, crows, ravens, etc), the evidence is being covertly dumped in the forest and consumed by maggots.

  13. bob auel says:

    For the record again when I found the site I didnt see who did it. It could of been a whiteman, native, or anyone so we just can’t assume because its on the Rez its a Native and start pointing fingers.

    The focus has to be on the Wanton waste maybe in the end we know who did it.

    I spoke to The tribal warden yesterday I gave him the GPS cor. to the site and hes heading out to look. When he has some info he will give me a call. When I know more Ill post it. I want to keep in contact with them so I know their serious and I get a follow up call. I also gave this info to our DNR.

    I also want to thank James at WCCO for this report. He did a great job

    Thanks James

    Bob Auel

  14. Stephen says:

    Well, I fer sure tink we otta head on over der with a whole mess of torches, an pitch forks and shotguns an kill one savage fer every fish that was dumped…dats only fair, a human life for a fish life! That’ll learn dem red devils!

    My god, what a bunch of redneck, hillbilly, backwoods, inbred, bigoted, and ignorant d-bags some of you sound like! LMAO!!

    1. Roger Johnson says:

      Lotta tough people on there computers u shud come to the rez and then talk trash!

  15. Kevin says:

    no more stocking it … probably a ploy to show low #s so they get more stocking done. let the tribe stock it from now on. Just some netters that changed plans, or had ulterior motives. sad

  16. adam says:

    Where does it even say a person of native origin did this? Just because it happend on the reservation? Glad to see that racism is still alive and kicking.

    I suppose the systematic slaughter of us native americans less than 150 years ago by the us government(see indian removal act of 1830) doesn’t buy us the right to have any of our own laws on land that we were forced on to.

    By the way native american fish hatcheries are the reason leech and winnie are such good fishing lakes. If it were up to the white man we’d all be fishing on lake minnetonka.

  17. PFred says:

    NO matter who did it, its a waste and shouldn’t have been done. Some people don’t think about consequences of their actions. If they didn’t want the fish, at least bring them to someone who would share. Its sad and unnecessary all of it had to go to waste!

  18. Rick says:

    Even if it was a native, so all of them should be punnished. How about we take away your gun because one of your race shot someone.

    Sounds Stupid right!