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Crime and punishment for an Alaska fishing guide

Alaska Dispatch

On Feb. 1, Alaska fishing guide Ray Blodgett was found guilty of violating fishing rules when he took a group of people fishing in one of the tributaries of the Talkeetna River. Despite the conviction, Blodgett claims he is guilty of nothing more than making a simple mistake.

Last fall, Blodgett took a group of eager fishers out and allowed them to use live bait and multiple hooks, violating fishing regulations in the process.

Blodgett doesn't protest the crime. He does contest where the crime took place.

He admits he was fishing with said equipment, but says he thought he had been fishing in Clear Creek, where using live bait and multiple hooks is permitted. Blodgett was cited for violating regulations on Fish Creek. The mistake, he claims, was based on false information in the state's regulation book that shows Fish Creek as Clear Creek.

Before flooding in 2006, Fish Creek was indeed Clear Creek at one time, but it has been five years since then and prosecutors said Blodgett should have known better.

According to the Frontiersman, Assistant District Attorney Christopher Orman believes Blodgett knew better than to just trust regulation book maps, which were not meant for navigation. In fact, Orman noted that the Department of Fish and Game's website warns residents to check regulations before relying on out-of-date maps and information.

"He gets paid for knowing the regulations and knowing where to take people to fish," Orman told the Frontiersman.

This is not Blodgett's first offense, either. In 2007, he had been caught fishing a day after the closing of king salmon season and was slapped with a $10,300 fine and ordered to do 40 hours of community service. 

This time he may not get off so easy. Read more here