A Boise man has been cited for catching and keeping a two-foot white sturgeon caught below Swan Falls Dam on the Snake River, according to an Idaho Fish and Game press release.
A Citizens Against Poaching call triggered the investigation into Michael Melton, 32, who caught the sturgeon on the evening of June 17 and placed the fish in his vehicle.
That's when another angler told Melton that all sturgeon fishing on the river was catch and release only.
Melton reportedly ignored the angler and left the area, according to Fish and Game.
"Fortunately, the angler was an excellent witness," Fish and Game conservation officer Brian Jack stated in the press release. "He called the CAP hotline and provided us with a license plate number and accurate descriptions of both the vehicle and the suspect."
Later that same evening, Jack and fellow conservation officers Brian Flatter and Kurt Stieglitz contacted Melton — who still had the sturgeon in possession — at a Meridian residence.
Melton admitted to officials that he caught and kept the fish.
Melton was cited for possession of a white sturgeon during closed season. The offense requires a court appearance, and a guilty verdict carries a mandatory fishing license suspension and civil penalties.
The young sturgeon was stocked in the Snake River in October 2016 as part of the cooperative sturgeon sport fish program conducted by Idaho Fish and Game, Idaho Power Company and the College of Southern Idaho.
At that time, the 19-inch fish weighed just over two pounds. When measured by officers, the fish had grown to 23 inches and weighed 3.2 pounds.
"Detecting wildlife crimes is difficult without the support and vigilance of the sporting public," Jack said. "The CAP program is an excellent tool for sportsmen who make the call in a timely manner and provide the kind of detail we need to make a successful case."
The CAP hotline (1-800-632-5999) is available 24 hours a day, and callers can remain anonymous. People with information about a suspected wildlife violation may also contact the Fish and Game Nampa office at 208-465-8465 during weekdays, the Idaho State Police at 208-846-7550 on weekends or their local sheriff's office.