Yet another fishing tournament has garnered attention due to a scandal involving cheating. This time, it revolves around Lake Erie Walleyes, which were purportedly filled with smaller fish to increase their weight.
Peter Smith, aged 57, took part in the Bart’s Cove Walleye Duel held on July 29-30 in Dunkirk, N.Y. However, he was disqualified by director Mark Mohr after it was uncovered that two of Smith’s Walleyes seemed to have been artificially stuffed with smaller fish.
One of these fish contained a 12-inch Walleye with its tail section removed, while the other held a completely intact white perch. Both smaller fish exhibited puncture marks around their mouths, indicating that they had been freshly caught.
“The 12-inch Walleye, it looked to me like they tried to stuff it and it wouldn’t go down, so they cut the last three inches off. It was suspicious because the fish was still really bright, and then I picked it up and could see a hook mark in its lip,” said Mohr.
The main reward for the competition, which had over 30 participating teams, consisted of an all-inclusive fishing expedition in Panama, valued at $14,500.
Upon the request of the tournament organizers, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is currently conducting an investigation into the incident.
Smaller fish were found stuffed inside of tournament Walleye.
“I appreciate everyone’s patience to let me get to the bottom of this mess,” Mohr wrote. “People who cheat and get caught are permanently banned from fishing this event. People who cheat have no respect for me or there fellow fisherman.”
Smith did not need to cheat to win according to Mohr.
“But the thing about it is that Pete didn’t have to stuff them,” said Mohr. “He only gained maybe 10-12 ounces, less than a pound. But he had a 22-something-pound bag, and the next closest was 19 pounds.”
It might ring a bell that back in May, two individuals were handed a 10-day jail sentence following their conviction on felony charges related to their actions during a walleye tournament on Lake Erie in October 2022.
These men were discovered to have inserted lead weights into the fish they had caught.