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Huron County fishermen accused of keeping too many perch and walleye

A conservation officer found hundreds of fish at a residence
Huron County residents Stanley Garbacz Jr., 68, of Caseville and Bruce Warren, 53, of Pigeon...
Huron County residents Stanley Garbacz Jr., 68, of Caseville and Bruce Warren, 53, of Pigeon were in possession of 170 perch – putting them each over the daily limit by 60 perch.(source: Michigan Department of Natural Resources)
Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 7:11 PM EDT
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HURON COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Two fishermen from Huron County face steep fines and could lose their fishing privileges after the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says they caught way too many perch and walleye.

Conservation officers say 68-year-old Stanley Garbacz Jr. of Caseville and 53-year-old Bruce Warren of Pigeon caught hundreds more fish than wildlife regulators allow on Saginaw Bay. Garbacz allegedly had nearly 400 perch, nearly 250 panfish and 35 walleye at his residence.

The DNR began investigating after someone left a tip with the Report All Poaching Hotline on May 10. A Huron County sheriff deputy went to Garbacz’s residence first and found him filleting hundreds of fish.

A DNR conservation officer counted 170 perch that Garbacz and Warren had caught on Saginaw Bay that day. Michigan’s daily perch limit is 25 per fishermen, so they were over by 60 fish apiece.

The conservation officer found hundreds more fish already filleted and bagged in freezers. He counted:

  • 35 walleye, but the state limit is no more than 24 in possession at a time.
  • 245 panfish, but the state limit is no more than 75 in possession at a time.
  • 393 additional perch, but the state limit is no more than 75 in possession at a time.

“Fish rules and regulations are in place to maintain a healthy natural resource,” said Lt. Dave Shaw of the Michigan DNR Law Enforcement Division. “Taking over limits by one or more individuals can impact the harvestable population and which could potentially reduce fish species for future generations.”

Garbacz turned himself in to authorities days after the conservation officer visited his residence. He faces two misdemeanor counts of being over the limit of fish -- one charge for perch and the other charge for walleye.

Garbacz must pay nearly $8,000 in restitution to the state if convicted.

Warren was arraigned this week on one misdemeanor count of taking too many perch. He faces up to $600 in restitution to the state if convicted.

Both Garbacz and Warren also face the possibility of additional fines and the loss of fishing privileges.

Anyone who is aware of natural resources, hunting or fishing violations should call the Report All Poaching Hotline at 1-800-292-7800. Tips may be submitted anonymously 24 hours a day and may come with a reward.

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