Otsego Man Arrested with More Than 400 Fish From Pelican Lake

A conservation officer from the Minnesota DNR arrested an Otsego man who pulled more than 440 fish beyond his legal limit this weekend.

The sharp eye of a conservation officer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources netted Chien Van Tran, 39, of Otsego, with 413 sunfish and 30 crappies over the legal limit.

That’s a gross misdemeanor offense carrying a maximum $3,000 fine and one year in county jail. Restitution value for the fish is $2,015. If convicted, Tran could lose his fishing privileges for three years.

Tran is scheduled to appear in Wright County Court May 30.

State Conservation Officer Rick Reller of Buffalo watched as Tran placed a bag of fish in a locked compartment of his boat before leaving on April 4.

“I asked how fishing was and if he had any fish onboard the boat,” said Reller. “He stated the fishing was ‘O.K.’ and he showed me a cooler with approximately a dozen panfish in it.”

Panfish is a term commonly used by anglers to refer to any small catch that will fit in a pan, but is large enough to be legal. This includes sunfish and crappies.

Asked several times if there were other fish on the boat Tran said, “No.” He eventually admitted that there were more fish on board, around 100. The total was 134 sunfish and 19 crappies. The state daily/possession limit is 20 sunfish and 10 crappies.

Reller asked Tran if he had any more fish at home. With Tran’s permission, a check of a freezer found 11 bags of fish containing 299 sunfish and 21 crappies bringing the total number to 413 sunfish and 30 crappies over the legal limit.

“I told Mr. Tran that I would be seizing all the fish,” Reller said. “I also advised him that I was seizing his boat, motors, trailer, and fishing license as part of a gross misdemeanor over limit of fish.”

Anyone witnessing a fishing or wildlife violation is encouraged to contact the nearest conservation officer, law enforcement agency or the toll-free Turn-In-Poacher (TIP) hotline at 800-652-9093. Also, #TIP is available to most cell phone users in Minnesota.

People should contact the Minnesota State Patrol or a DNR regional or area office for the name and phone number of a conservation officer in their area.

- Information provided by the Minnesota DNR - 

Carolyn May 29, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Larry Sorensen May 29, 2012 at 06:52 PM
413 sunfish and 30 crappies over the legal limit?? Come on, man!
Ann May 29, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Well, considering that they are planning on lowering the level of the lake and killing off all these fish, at least it would have fed this man for while and all those fish would not have been wasted.
bogesmn May 29, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Yeah..so let him break the law.....amazing
Al Anderson May 30, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Ann - please look up the meaning of the word "rationalization". Your comment pretty much just defined it. Additionally, I'd bet my IRA that this isn't an isolated incident with this guy.


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