During the Fall of 2018, Conservation Officer John Beer investigated a report of two Minidoka county men who had illegally harvested a large sturgeon. The men located the sturgeon while fishing near the Snake River on the south side spillway of the Minidoka Dam. They loaded the huge fish into the trunk of a Dodge Intrepid and left the area. The fish was approximately 5 and 1/2 feet long with the age and weight unknown.
White Sturgeon are a highly regulated species in Idaho and there is no legal harvest. State law allows for catch and release fishing in much of the state however the fish are prohibited from being taken out of the water. This species is very slow growing and the illegal take can greatly impact the sport fishery for all Idaho anglers.
October 2018, Illegal possession of sturgeon charges were filed in Minidoka County court. Both men pled guilty to charges and were sentenced in April 2019.
Michael Dewhirst of Rupert pled guilty to Possession of a sturgeon during closed season. He was sentenced to 180 days suspended jail time, a fine of $150, court costs of $165, 12 months probation, and ordered to pay $250 in restitution to the State of Idaho for the sturgeon.
Anthony Eaton of Heyburn pled guilty to aiding in the commission of a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 68 days suspended jail time, and court costs of $165.