A 57-year-old West Valley City man and his 53-year-old wife have been arrested for allegedly keeping 174 trout they caught at a four-acre community fishing water in Murray.
The couple were 166 fish over their legal limit.
Willow Pond, the four-acre pond where the violation took place, was built to allow young and elderly anglers a nearby place to fish.
"This is the worst case of catching and keeping an overlimit of fish I've seen in the 10 years I've been with the Division of Wildlife Resources," said DWR Captain Mike Fowlks.
Fowlks was one of several officers involved with the case. He said the DWR will recommend 3rd Degree Felony charges be filed against the couple.
DWR officers were alerted to the case by anglers who called the DWR's Help Stop Poaching Hotline.
Officers put the pond under surveillance and watched the couple for several days to gather enough evidence for a search warrant.
"He would show up at 8 a.m., catch fish, return again at noon, catch some more fish, and then show up again at 2:30 to 3 p.m. with his wife," Fowlks said. "They were taking the fish home and stockpiling them in their freezer."
A licensed angler in Utah is only allowed four trout. A search of the couple's home on Oct. 30 established that the couple significantly exceeded the eight trout they were allowed between them.
"This is a real loss for the people Ã¯Â¿Â½ mostly young children and elderly folks Ã¯Â¿Â½ who enjoy fishing Willow Pond," said Drew Cushing, urban fisheries biologist for the DWR. "These community fishing waters have been established across Utah to provide anglers a close-to-home place to fish."
According to Cushing, the community fishing waters are stocked from DWR hatcheries or are purchased from outside the state.
"It's vital that people obey the rules so there's plenty of fish for everyone to catch," Cushing emphasized "This situation shows that people are watching violators at these waters and that there are some pretty hefty fines and jail time associated with not obeying the rules."
To report wildlife violations in Utah, call the DWR's Help Stop Poaching Hotline at 1-800-662-DEER (3337).