When: Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at 11 a.m.
Where: Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care facility at 1485 Cherry Hills Circle, South Lake Tahoe, CA Contact
On Apr 28, 2019, wildlife officers investigated a possible poaching call from the public regarding a suspected gross over-limit of trout, near Antelope Lake. The concerned angler called in a tip about a man, later identified as Yaroslav Pugach, 48, from Antelope who had been fishing the trout opening weekend near Antelope Lake in remote eastern Plumas County. The reporting party described seeing Pugach catch and retain more than the legal limit of five trout. The reporting party provided the wildlife officer with a vehicle description and a partial license plate number of the suspect’s vehicle. One of the two responding officers spotted the vehicle and conducted a vehicle stop. Despite the suspect’s claims of only having five trout in his possession, the two officers located a total of 54 trout -- many times over the daily bag limit of five trout per day and 10 in possession. The trout were very large, averaging 2-3 pounds each. The officers cited the man for a gross over-limit of trout.
Wildlife officers filed the case with Plumas County District Attorney David Hollister who prosecuted the case and asked the court for an enhanced penalty due to the excessive over-limit. Pugach was convicted of the over-limit of trout charges, ordered to pay $4,965 in fines, and was ordered to serve two years of probation. Part of his probation terms included no fishing for two years.
On Tuesday, Dec 10, the seized evidence trout from this case will be donated to the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care facility. The facility often partners with CDFW in accepting and rehabilitating injured or orphaned wildlife, ultimately preparing them for re-release back into the wild. The trout will specifically be used to feed three orphaned bear cubs, and a bald eagle currently at the facility. These bear cubs are currently slated for release back into the wild this spring.
CDFW thanks the Plumas County District Attorney’s Office for their successful prosecution of this egregious poaching case and their continued dedication to prosecuting wildlife and natural resource crimes. In addition, the case would not have been possible without a tip, along with excellent suspect and vehicle descriptions, from an honest law-abiding angler. Anyone who witnesses a poaching or polluting incident, or have information about such a violation, immediately dial the toll free CalTIP number 888 334-2258, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.