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HOLMEN - What happens to confiscated fish when an individual breaks the law and illegally harvests natural resources from other law-abiding residents? Cases of confiscated overbagged fish recently resulted in providing nutritious meals for those in need.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Warden Dale Hochhausen, of the always-busy Mississippi River Warden Team, concluded his case involving a large overbagging of panfish by attending a sentencing hearing earlier this year.

The case started late last year when the suspect had been arrested for overbagging violations and 2,572 panfish had been seized from the suspect's residence. Fines for the violations totaled close to $25,000. The person had a history of fishing violations and had been cited eight times since 1989. The suspect's fishing privileges had been previously revoked on two separate occasions.

For this case, the judge ordered 12 years revocation of person's fishing privileges and confiscation of the person's boat, motor and freezers. The person was fined a total of $4,803.

Hochausen dropped about 800 panfish off at the St. Elizabeth's Sportsmen Night and Wild Game Feed held a the area's American Legion.

The nonprofit sport group used part of the proceeds from the church's annual feed for the Holmen church's programs including the local food pantry, community and youth programs. The rest of the fish were taken to other non-profit groups in the area.

Lt. Jeremy Peery and Warden Kevin Christorf, who serve the Lower Chippewa Warden Team recently delivered 500 pounds of donated processed salmon and panfish fillets to with manager Lois Salinas of the nonprofit Community Table in Eau Claire.

Peery says the donation is part of the state policy when it comes to donations of confiscated fish. This fish also came from an overbagging case. The wardens say it means a lot to be able to give back to the public what is theirs.

Salinas says the fish will make for many nutritious meals for those area residents who are in need.

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