A long walk was worth it on March 26, when a Minnesota game warden busted a group of six fishermen in blatant violation of wilderness regulations and fishing laws in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Anthony Bermel hiked into Gabbro Lake on a hunch that proved correct.
It is about two miles from the entry point parking lot to Gabbro Lake, the first mile mostly a hilly portage, then up Little Gabbro and through a narrows to the scene of the poaching. Seeing trucks in the parking lot, Bemel decided to check on their owners, who mistakenly thought they were a safe distance away from roads and rangers.
“I think they were a little surprised to see me that far in [the wilderness]. I think they thought they were going to be alone,” Bermel told the Duluth News Tribune.
There, the DNR reports he he observed 22 violations of regulations, including possession of 123 aluminum cans (illegal in the wilderness) and extra lines, fishing without a license, unattended lines, and targeting fish in closed season.
The group received 13 citations, at least one to each of the ice anglers. Those with multiple tickets could face losing their fishing privileges. The men were not from Minnesota, and Bermel told the News Tribune that he didn’t issue tickets for all 22 citations because some of the anglers seemed to have depended on other members of their group to tell them what is allowed.
After writing the tickets, one can imagine Bemel turning around and not minding the two-mile return trip.