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Too Many Bluegills Could Be $24k Fine

An Onalaska angler faces a $24,682 fine for exceeding the limit in Lake Onalaska and the Mississippi River.

A state Department of Natural Resources warden working undercover early Nov. 4 on Lake Onalaska saw 73-year-old Stanley Paalksnis keep at least 22 bluegills and five unidentified fish, according to records filed in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

He fished again that afternoon, collecting 25 bluegills. The daily limit is 25.

Paalksnis told a warden he caught only three crappies and one perch that morning and wouldn’t let authorities into his house at W7283 North Shore Lane without a warrant.

Authorities found more than 150 fish fillets in his freezers and refrigerators and determined that he was “grossly over his possession limit,” according to court records. Paalksnis was issued four citations and makes his first court appearance Thursday.

Prosecutors want the judge to revoke his fishing privileges and confiscate his 15-foot flat-bottom boat and two freezers seized during the search.

DNR officials declined to comment on the case or what potential impact it had on the ecosystem until the case is resolved.

The DNR issued Paalksnis seven citations for fishing over the limit between 1989 and 2011 in Buffalo and La Crosse counties. His fishing privileges were revoked twice.

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