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Minnesota angler pleads guilty, can't keep potential record-size fish

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A northern Minnesota angler who caught a 52-pound lake trout while ice-fishing in February won't be able to keep the trophy after pleading guilty in an Ontario courtroom to violating his one-fish limit, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Rob Scott, who owns a resort on Crane Lake, entered the plea Friday. He paid a $400 fine plus court costs of about $75, according to Kevin Elliott, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources enforcement supervisor in Fort Frances.

Scott, 65, caught the fish on Feb. 8, while on the Ontario side of Lac La Croix, a border lake northeast of Crane Lake. Unofficially, the fish weighed 52 pounds, 3 ounces, was 45 inches long and had a 32-inch girth, Scott said.

But because Scott’s lake trout limit was one fish and he had already kept a 4-pounder earlier in the day, he was over his limit when he kept the big lake trout, according to the Duluth News Tribune. He gave the 4-pound trout to his nephew and kept the big one, but according to Ontario law, he had possessed both fish.

“He killed two fish. You’re only allowed to kill one,” the MNR’s Elliott said.

Scott was planning to submit the fish to the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward as a potential record in the ice-fishing tip-up category. The current record is 29 pounds, 6 ounces.

“I fully plan on getting a replica (mount) made,” Scott told the newspaper Monday. “No one can take away the fact that I pulled a 52-pound fish through a 10-inch hole ice fishing.”

Scott took the fish to a taxidermy shop in Duluth to have it mounted, and that's when it was seized by a DNR conservation officer, who was acting on behalf of the Ontario MNR. The fish remains in Ontario, but it's not clear what will happen to it after a 30-day waiting period has expired.

The MNR’s Elliott said confiscated fish are sometimes mounted and used for educational purposes, according to the newspaper.

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