On April 28, 2019, California Department of Fish and Wildlife busted a fisherman for hauling out over ten times the legal limit in trout from Antelope Lake in Plumas County. Now, the CDFW is using the confiscated trout to feed recovering bears, raccoons and eagles in the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care facility.
It was Yaroslav Pugach who was cited at Antelope Lake in April after he was found leaving the area with 54 trout, much more than the 5 trout limit. Pugach was convicted and sentenced to pay a $5,000 fine and serve two years probation, which included no fishing. The evidence of 54 trout was ordered to be destroyed, but Lt. Kyle Kroll, who supervises the wildlife officers who made the case, had a different idea.
Kroll contacted Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, whose function is to rehabilitate and release orphaned and injured animals into the wild, and offered the “evidence” up for the rehabilitating animals. The facility happily took in the 54-trout donation and used it feed the animals in their care.
On December 10th, the always-hungry animals were fed the trout from Antelope Lake. With more than 100 pounds of evidence fish, it was a hearty meal for the bears, raccoons and a bald eagle:
This was a great example how the CDFW tries to enforce its regulations while not waisting any of the resources it confiscates in investigations. Not only is a lesson taught to any would-be fish poacher, but they can help feed the wildlife that will hopefully be released back into the wild with a full belly.
Great job by all in the investigation and feeding the animals!