Two west Michigan men have been charged with poaching walleye from the Detroit River last year, the state Department of Natural Resources announced Wednesday.

A caller to the agency's poaching hotline in May reported seeing the anglers, identified as 54-year-old twin brothers, Benjamin Schrouder of Ada and Steven Schrouder of Lowell filleting fish at a dock on the Libra Marina in Wyandotte and returning to the river multiple times, state officials said in a statement.

A conservation officer who followed up on the tip and arrived on the scene watched the men taking several bags from a dockside cooler, according to the release.

When other conservation officers approached and asked to search the items, they found multiple bags of fresh walleye fillets totaling 75 fish along with undersize walleye carcasses, the DNR reported.

The legal walleye limit on the Detroit River is five 15-inch walleye per day, according to the state.

“This is a great example of how our officers and citizens work together to protect our natural resources,” said Gary Hagler, chief of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “The DNR’s Report All Poaching hotline is a critical source for people to anonymously report poachers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Conservation officers are always available and ready to respond.”

The conservation officers seized the fish and issued citations to the brothers. After they failed to appear for their court date, a bench warrant was issued.

The siblings were arrested last week and pleaded guilty in Wyandotte's 27th District Court to poaching. They were each ordered to pay $2,070, including $700 in reimbursement for the over-limit of fish and $20 in conservation fees, along with having their fishing licenses revoked for one year. 

Anyone who witnesses or suspects a natural resource violation is asked to call or text the Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.

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