ODNR investigates anglers caught cheating during Cleveland fishing tournament

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Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 6:58 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) said on Monday they are investigating the incident between two anglers caught cheating in a fishing tournament on Lake Erie last week.

Full statement from organizer after two anglers are caught stuffing fish with weight during tournament in Cleveland

Full statement from organizer after two anglers are caught stuffing fish with weight during tournament in Cleveland https://bit.ly/3ygOWWb

Posted by Cleveland 19 News on Monday, October 3, 2022

The duo, identified as Chase Cominsky and Jake Runyan, were caught cheating in the tournament held on Sept. 30 by adding lead weights and fish filets, that appeared to be previously prepared, to the fish they caught in an attempt to increase the total weight.

“ODNR wildlife officers responded to the Lake Erie Walleye Tournament on Friday, September 30, 2022 after being contacted by tournament organizers,” an ODNR spokesperson said. ”Officers collected evidence and are preparing a report for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutors Office.”

The cheaters added around eight pounds of total weight to the five fish they caught during the event, according to Jason Fischer of the Lake Erie Walleye Trail.

The fish weighed in at a total of 33.91 pounds, according to a livestream recorded at the event’s weigh-in. The five fish were weighed at the 16-minute mark of the video.

Posted by Lake Erie Walleye Trail on Friday, September 30, 2022

Fischer, the tournament’s organizer, previously told 19 News the fish ‘looked smaller’ than what they weighed. This prompted the fish to be checked for any signs of cheating.

Tournament officials found the additional weight after cutting into the fish.

Fischer said any angler that alters the weight of any caught fish is immediately disqualified from the tournament.

In a statement made on Monday, Fischer said the Division of Wildlife is handling the investigation.

This is a developing story. Return to 19 News for updates.