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Incidents of catfish left to rot continue in Grand Forks area

The bellies of at least two of the catfish left on shore to rot near the Eagle Point boat landing on the Red Lake River in East Grand Forks appear to have been slit. A park worker found and photographed the rotting fish Wednesday. Catherine Johnson, Red River State Recreation Area / Special to Forum News Service

EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn.—More incidents of catfish being caught to left to rot on shore have been reported at a state park here.

Catherine Johnson, seasonal manager of the Red River State Recreation Area in East Grand Forks, on Thursday, July 27, shared a photograph a park employee took Wednesday after finding rotting catfish by the Eagle Point boat landing on the Red Lake River.

The photo shows at least seven catfish, and the bellies of two with their undersides visible clearly had been slit.

Of the three incidents reported in East Grand Forks in the past week, the latest is the most disturbing, Johnson said in an email. Catfish left on stringers or tossed onto the pavement also have been found at the LaFave Park landing on the Red River in East Grand Forks and the Whopper John Little (north) boat landing in Grand Forks.

Greenway staff and authorities on both sides of the Red River are asking for the public's help in catching the person or people responsible for the incidents. Kim Greendahl, Greenway coordinator for the city of Grand Forks, said the incidents began around the Fourth of July and have occurred on several other occasions since then.

After a story about the incidents on Wednesday, Greendahl said she received a call from someone who said they'd found a stringer of rotting catfish two weeks ago at the Lincoln Drive Park boat ramp.

"Hopefully, making these incidents public will make people think twice about their actions," Greendahl said in an email. "We can only hope."

Blake Riewer, district game warden for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Grand Forks, and Tom Hutchins, conservation officer for the Department of Natural Resources in Crookston, are aware of the incidents, but it more than likely will take the public's help to end the incidents.

Anyone with information about the incidents should call North Dakota's Report All Poachers hotline at (800) 472-2121, Minnesota's Turn in Poachers hotline at (800) 652-9093 or #TIP on cellphones or Greendahl at (701) 738-8746.

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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