Two Huron County men face fines for overfishing

The Detroit News

Caseville — Two Huron County men owe more than $8,500 in restitution after they were arraigned last week for surpassing fishing limits., the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said. 

Stanley Garbacz Jr., 68, of Caseville, and Bruce Warren, 53, of Pigeon, were arraigned in Huron County District Court recently for illegal possession of panfish, perch and walleye.

Huron County residents Stanley Garbacz Jr., 68, of Caseville and Bruce Warren, 53, of Pigeon were in possession of 170 perch – putting them each over the daily limit by 60 perch.

Garbacz turned himself in to authorities the week of May 10 and faces two charges of over limit possessions; one charge for perch and one charge for walleye, and must pay $7,930 in restitution, the DNR said in a statement. 

Warren surrendered earlier this week and was arraigned on one charge of taking a daily over limit of perch and owes $600 in mandatory restitution, according to the DNR.

Both men face additional court fines and costs and could lose their fishing privileges when they are sentenced at a future court appearance.

“Fish rules and regulations are in place to maintain a healthy natural resource,” said Lt. Dave Shaw, Michigan DNR Law Enforcement Division. “Taking over limits by one or more individuals can impact the harvestable population and which could potentially reduce fish species for future generations."

Conservation Officer Josh Wright received a tip from the DNR’s Report All Poaching Hotline in March that Garbacz was potentially in possession of a few hundred perch. While in route to the Garbacz’s residence, Wright requested assistance from Huron County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joshua Loss, who arrived at the suspect’s home first. Loss confirmed that there were “a lot” of perch being filleted.

Wright arrived at the residence and received permission to count the 170 perch that Garbacz and Warren caught earlier in the day – putting them each over the daily catch limit by 60 perch.

As Wright continued the investigation, he found 85 bags of frozen fish in four of Garbacz’s freezers. Wright thawed and counted the fillets. Based on the Saginaw Bay area daily and possession limits, Garbacz was over limit by:

  • 35 walleye; the daily limit is eight. Anglers may possess an additional two days' limit of walleye as long as they are processed, with a total possession limit of 24.
  • 245 panfish; the daily limit it 25. An angler may possess an additional two days' limit of panfish as long as they are processed, with a total possession limit of 75.
  • 393 additional perch; the daily limit it 25. Fishers may possess an additional two days limit of walleye as long as they are processed, with a total possession limit of 75

Processed fish from previous days must be canned or frozen.

Suspected poaching violations may be reported 24 hours a day, seven days a week to the DNR's Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800. Tips may be submitted anonymously and rewards may be offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects.