By Chris Vetter
A Chippewa Falls man faces a 90-day jail sentence, $1,500 fine and loss of his hunting and fishing privileges if convicted of poaching sturgeon in city limits in June.
Shane J. Donaldson, 41, of 1004 Jefferson Ave. appeared in Chippewa County Court Wednesday on a misdemeanor charge of possession of lake sturgeon during a closed season. He will return to court Oct. 23.
Hook-and-line sturgeon season is open on select waters Sept. 1-30. A permit is required to harvest a sturgeon, and they must be at least 60 inches.
According to a complaint, a person called the state Department of Natural Resources June 21, saying he observed two adult men and a boy catching sturgeon near the Xcel Energy dam by Highway 124 in Chippewa Falls.
A DNR warden arrived at the scene and observed the men — later identified as Donaldson and 37-year-old Jeremy Weigold of 234 Olive St., Chippewa Falls — as they caught fish through unlawful fishing methods. The warden observed one of the men catch a sturgeon by hand and throw it down on the rocks.
Chippewa Falls police officers arrived and arrested Donaldson, who denied he was catching sturgeon. However, the juvenile boy had shot video with his phone that showed Donaldson holding the sturgeon he caught by hand.
Donaldson is not allowed to fish in Wisconsin until the matter is settled. If he is found guilty, he faces a three-year revocation of hunting and fishing licenses, along with the jail sentence and fine.
Weigold admitted to police he caught a fish by hand. Weigold was charged with “fishing by means other than a hook or line,” which is a $423 fine. He pleaded not guilty at a prior court hearing, and no future court date has been set.