Jump to content

Michigan DNR tickets Indiana Charter Captns.


Recommended Posts

Turkey Season, Michigan DNR and Indiana Charter Captains

Synopsis: The Michigan DNR used creel reports to ticket approximately 12 Indiana charter captains after changing the rules regarding reciprocal licenses. In 2012 they required Indiana Captains to get their boat inspected by the Indiana DNR, wait 4 weeks till the actual license is received, send in a copy and then wait another 4 weeks for the Michigan DNR to process them. Since all Michigan licenses expire on May 31st of each year, the Indiana boats could not meet the requirements in time, especially when the Indiana DNR could not get the inspections done due to conflicts with the spring Turkey season. Before 2012 they allowed a copy of the officers dockside inspection worksheet, but that changed in 2012 and 2013. Most charter captains do not launch their boats till after April 1st or even later, thus making an actual Dockside inspection and the required paper work impossible.

Full Story

The Michigan DNR ticketed more about 12 Indiana Charter Captains without ever talking to them Last year they made a change in the way they wanted the reciprocal charter license application. To fish in either state a Captain has to have his boat dockside inspected by the DNR of each state. They inspect for all the safety equipment, up to date and in working order to keep the charter boats safe for the public. Both Indiana and Michigan DNR will honor each other’s dockside inspection and will issue a license once you have shown that you have a currant license in your own state. Until last year, you could send in the copy of the Indiana’s DNR officers inspection that you received at the dockside inspection, with $100 and you’d get the Michigan license. But early in January 2012 the Michigan DNR sent out a letter stating they no longer will accept the carbon copy from the dockside (it is unreadable) and will only take the actual license.

So Last year after launching April 1st, I called the Indiana DNR to get my dockside, in early April. Turkey Season. No Indiana DNR officers were available to do it. They are all out in the woods. Each week I was told to call back next week, and finally to just wait till Turkey season was over. I finally got my dockside on May 24th. That’s good because the the Michigan license expires each year on May 31st. But I still needed my actual license, and when I finally got it in July, it has the date of the inspection, May 24th right on it. I sent it the application to the Michigan DNR Plainfield office, and they forwarded it on to the Lansing DNR office and finally cashed my check 3 weeks later and issued the license.

The next part of the story was told to me by the ticketing officer of the Michigan DNR. Last year the Michigan DNR got wind of a rumor that one Indiana Charter Captain was bragging that he was not going to get his reciprocal license because he never saw the Michigan DNR in the waters we fish. After all there is only one DNR boat that covers the water from South Haven to the state line. So on a sunny calm Sunday in July he went out and checked every single boat he could find. I was in 150 fow fishing with my daughter and her family , 15 miles out when he pulled up. The three officers on board checked our fishing licenses and left to check other boats. After that day, only time I have ever been checked, the Michigan DNR noticed that there was a flurry of reciprocal licenses applied for, including mine. So they figured there little inspection scared every one into applying for their license.

The Michigan DNR then went to the “anonymous” fish creel reports we are required to turn in for each day we fish in the state of Michigan. We are required to turn in our no of fisherman, fish caught and species, and what section of the lake we caught them in. I did think this was a good thing for all, since it was a great way for data collection for fish counts. But apparently its not as anonymous as they claimed. They went through each day we turned in and ticketed us for those days we fished and did not have our license. Even if we were not chartering we got ticketed as they assumed we were chartering because we turned in the report.

My problem with the DNR is my story and so many of my brother charter captains are the same. Due to timing its not possible to follow the rules and get the license on time. One captain had his boat being worked on and didn’t get his boat in till near the middle of May and could not get the dockside. One captain sent in last years inspection, and it worked. So that is what we are doing now. Not getting our boats inspected but sending in last years Indiana license to get the Michigan reciprocal license for this year. But they still require that we send in the Indiana inspection for the current year. It doesn’t make sense.

I didn’t do anything wrong. I tried, I really did. I am not pleading guilty to this. They have made it impossible to comply.

Captain Jeff Eck

of "The Rodfather" , out of Michigan City

Edited by The Rodfather
signing it.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am going to fight it. Some of the guys aren't because they cant afford it. The charge is a misdemeanor though and not something I want on my record. It's really disappointing how they have judged all of us as trying to subvert the law. I really respect the DNR guys for what they do, I am not wanting to go see guys every day who are carrying loaded guns and tell them there wrong. I think when you deal with the public day in and day out, you sometimes think that every one is trying to get away with something and you dont listen to someones story and figure out why they did what they did. Thats the case here, my purpose in posting this is to get the it public, try to get the DNR to think before they act.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many of the prosecutors do not agree with the fact the DNR has very few civil infractions, and go straight to the misdemeanors. Quite often if you go in and plead not Guilty they will have you talk to a prosecutor, they may handle it with you right then and there, they can drop charges. It sounds like you should have enough evidence without getting a lawyer, you can always get a lawyer after you plead.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After reading this, I now remember that a few short years ago the DNR and our local charterboat assoc. said we should report ALL fishing trips on our monthly reports. I never did beforehand, and wondered why. They all said they want as many reports of catching fish on the record as possible. Looks like this is the case here, and helped them make a case against innocent fun fishing trips. This is pure bs, incompetence, and foolishness at it's best. I don't understand why it's a misdemeanor though, as this isn't criminal, it's simply a technicality, and civil matter. JMO

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DNR, like all officers, have discretion. They can listen to the individual and decide what, if anything, to charge. Making the decisions in Lansing to ticket Indiana charter captains takes out discretion from the process. Sorry to hear you got slammed. Hopefully a DNR officer/employee reads these posts and communicates it to superiors.

Tight Lines

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Charters are on the waters almost daily.. They could help be the eyes and ears of the DNR to support fishing regulations and safety on the water. Its all about building relationships and its a 2-way street. Sounds like the Michigan DNR just put up a roadblock and the Indiana DNR needs to step up their inspection process to accommodate the pubic for safety. Bum deal

Personally I would like to see a Lake Michigan License good for all states

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At this point the decision to prosecute was not made by the local officer but by his superiors. They do have all my evidence, and are still pursueing it. I have a court date set May 14th in St Joe. Fortuneately Wally Laaksonen, Captain of the Blue Fairways is representing me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At this point the decision to prosecute was not made by the local officer but by his superiors. They do have all my evidence, and are still pursueing it. I have a court date set May 14th in St Joe. Fortuneately Wally Laaksonen, Captain of the Blue Fairways is representing me.

Wish you the very best. Spent 28 years working for MSP and it was usually never good when direction came down from Lansing. Wonder if they were getting complaints from local Michigan Charter Captains? Its not like you guys were trying to beat the state out of any revenue or anything, just a catch 22. Sorry you got caught up in government ineptness. Unfortunately sometimes its becoming the norm with upper management. Hopefully Wally can show the court the error of the government logic. I may have missed it in the comments, but do Michigan Charter Captains operating in Indiana have the same problems?

Good luck.

Paul C.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never heard that anyone has had problems like this before. It started when there was a complaint from someone to the DNR that one captain was bragging that he was not going to get his Michigan liscence. They then on July 14 went out and inspected as many boats as they could find looking for that one guy. They noticed that after that there were a ton of applications coming in, so they figured their sting caused that, never thinking the process sucked. Labeled us as all guilty, and gave out 18 tickets. I am the only one fighting it because in many cases the judge has given out fines of only $10 plus 280$ court costs. (Not all though). Trying to stand up for what is right but not sure if I will win. I need some charter captains who will say they thought they were suppose to report every time they fished, not just when chartering. They would help my case a lot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...