Biologists: Bounty-collecting angler caught in lie

May 12, 2011 10:01:56 AM PDT
A Coeur d'Alene man has been ordered to pay more than $6,800 in restitution for defrauding a bounty program that pays anglers who catch trout in northern Idaho's Lake Pend Oreille. Christopher Pluntz pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge Wednesday as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports that Idaho Fish and Game managers thought something was fishy last year after the 44-year-old angler turned in 443 rainbow trout heads and collected a $15 bounty on each.

Investigators examined the heads and determined that the rainbow trout belonged to a coastal variety, not the type found in Lake Pend Oreille.

The bounty program aims to help the lake's struggling kokanee trout population.

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