A Boise man has been cited for catching and keeping a two-foot white sturgeon caught below Swan Falls Dam on the Snake River, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
Officials said Michael Melton, 32, caught the sturgeon on the evening of June 17th, and placed the fish in his vehicle.
Reports said another angler told him that all sturgeon fishing on the river was “catch-and-release” only.
Officials said Melton reportedly ignored the angler and left the area. “Fortunately, the angler was an excellent witness,” Fish and Game conservation officer Brian Jack stated. “He called the Citizens Against Poaching hotline and provided us with a license plate number and accurate descriptions of both the vehicle and the suspect.”
Later that evening, Jack and fellow conservation officers Brian Flatter and Kurt Stieglitz contacted Melton at a Meridian home. They said Melton finally admitted to catching and keeping the fish -– and still had it in his possession.
Melton was cited for possession of a white sturgeon during a closed season. The offense requires a court appearance. A guilty verdict carries a mandatory fishing license suspension and civil penalties.
Authorities said the young sturgeon was stocked in the Snake River in October, 2016, as part of the cooperative sturgeon sport fish program conducted by Idaho Fish and Game, Idaho Power Company and the College of Southern Idaho. At that time, the 19-inch fish weighed just over two pounds. When measured by officers, the fish had grown to 23 inches and weighed 3.2 pounds.