Atlantic Salmon Misidentified, May Cost Angler $1,500

A fisherman who caught a huge fish in Vermont's White River will likely pay a $1,500 fine and lose his fishing license for three years because he says he incorrectly identified an endangered Atlantic salmon as a brown trout.

Ryan McCullough of Bethel, Vermont, was fishing downstream of the federal fish hatchery in Stockbridge on July 25 when he hooked and landed a 9.5-pound fish that measured 31½ inches long. He misidentified it as a brown trout and kept it. He even notified the local newspaper which published a photo of the big fish.

Fish and Wildlife Service biologists who had previously put radio-transmitters in Atlantic salmon that had migrated upstream in the Connecticut River to spawn noticed the photo. They also discovered one of the two salmon they were monitoring in the White River was now transmitting its signal from dry land in Bethel.

According to the Rutland Herald, State Game Warden Keith Gallant turned up the missing salmon in McCullough's freezer. McCullough was issued a citation to appear in Windsor Superior Court on Sept. 27.

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