WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 01, 2014, 12:08 PM

Minnesota angler pleads guilty, loses potential world-record fish

DETROIT LAKES, MN - Caught — and released to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

By: Sam Cook, Forum News Service, DL-Online, Forum News Service

DETROIT LAKES, MN - Caught — and released to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

Rob Scott, the Crane Lake, Minn., angler who caught a potential tip-up world-record lake trout in February, pleaded guilty Friday in Fort Frances Provincial Offences Court to keeping one lake trout over his limit.

Scott, 65, won’t get to keep the fish.

He paid a $400 fine plus court costs amounting to about $75, according to Kevin Elliott, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources enforcement supervisor in Fort Frances.

Scott, who was represented by an Ontario attorney, did not contest the charges. He caught and kept the fish that unofficially weighed 52 pounds, 3 ounces, on Feb. 8 while fishing on the Ontario side of Lac La Croix, a border lake northeast of Crane Lake. The fish was 45 inches long with a 32-inch girth, Scott said.

But because Scott’s lake trout limit was one fish and he had already kept a 4-pounder earlier in the day, he was over his limit when he kept the big lake trout. He later gave the 4-pound trout to his nephew, he said, but according to Ontario law, he had possessed both fish.

“He killed two fish. You’re only allowed to kill one,” the MNR’s Elliott said.

Scott said he had planned to submit the fish, which was caught on a tip-up line, to the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wis., as a potential record in the ice-fishing tip-up category. The current record is 29 pounds, 6 ounces.

“I fully plan on getting a replica (mount) made,” Scott said in a telephone interview from Crane Lake on Monday. “No one can take away the fact that I pulled a 52-pound fish through a 10-inch hole ice fishing.”

Soon after catching the big lake trout, Scott brought it to Bowe Taxidermy in Duluth to have it mounted. It was seized there by a conservation officer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, acting on behalf of MNR conservation officers. It was transported to enforcement officials in Ontario, where it remains.

The MNR’s Elliott said the fish will be held for 30 days. He doesn’t know what will happen to the fish after that. Sometimes, confiscated fish are mounted and used for educational purposes, Elliott said.

On Sunday, Scott traveled by snowmobile back to Lac La Croix to the same area where he had caught the big fish. Using 6-pound-test line on a light rod, he caught and kept a 26-pound lake trout. He plans to have that fish mounted as well.