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Two arrested in illegal gillnetting on Columbia River


Numerous complaints of illegal gillnetting at the Deschutes River Sanctuary on the Columbia River led to a nighttime patrol and the arrest of two Cello Village residents on several charges, Oregon State Police said Wednesday.

OSP, working with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement, conducted the patrol Monday night, said OSP Sgt. Michael Berland.

Troopers spotted a boat operating without required lighting in the sanctuary with two adults and a child aboard, Berland said.

They also discovered the boaters had an 1,100-plus foot gillnet deployed in the water, in violation of restrictions.

In addition to being a closed area to gillnetting, the length of the gillnet, which extended beyond the sanctuary boundary, exceeded state limitations of 800 feet maximum length allowable, the sergeant said.

Gillnets are prohibited in the Deschutes River sanctuary throughout the year.

Lane Meanus, 26, and Ashley Leslie, 24, were detained along with their child on the water and taken to the Celilo State Park for further investigation.

Meanus was lodged at the NORCOR Regional Jail in The Dalles on a charge of commercial fishing in closed waters and cited for operating a vessel without required lighting, Berland said.

Leslie was issued criminal citations for commercial fishing in closed waters and taking fish without tribal ID on her person.

An investigation found 85 Chinook salmon and a steelhead taken, with a current market value of over $3,500.

“Fish and wildlife preservation is crucial to the sustainment and healthy population management efforts to the entire Pacific Northwest,” Berland said in a news release.

“The Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife encourage anyone witnessing or with knowledge of fish and wildlife violation to report it via the established tip line,” he added.

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