The California Department of Fish and Game's Californians Turn In Poachers and Polluters program is offering up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves responsible for stealing approximately 1,000 trout from the San Joaquin Hatchery last weekend.
On Aug. 21, between 3 and 4 a.m., someone forced entry into the hatchery and stole up to 1,000 large trout, and also killed and left another 70 large trout in the process. The fish, which weighed three-to-four-pounds each, had been growing in the hatchery for three years.
DFG wardens have collected evidence at the scene and hope to get additional information from anyone who may have seen someone trying to sell the trout. The value of the fish and the cost to repair the damage to the hatchery elevate the crime to a felony.
Citizens are encouraged to be watchful for anyone attempting to sell trout on the street, at outdoors markets, or any place where trout are not normally sold. Physical descriptions, vehicle license plate numbers, time, date and locations would be extremely helpful.
The CalTIP hotline is (888) 334-2258. The toll-free telephone number operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You do not have to give your name.
-- Image of rainbow trout courtesy of Eric Engbretson / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service