Fishing guide facing fines for catching stripers over legal limit

LAKE TEXOMA, Okla. (KXII) - A Lake Texoma fishing guide is facing thousands in fines for catching close to three dozen striped bass over 20 inches long over the legal limit of two per day for a fisherman in Marshall County.

Court records show Shannon Newsom faces 32 misdemeanors for each big striper game wardens say his boat caught over the legal limit.

Game wardens tell us a week ago, he was the guide on his boat with three other people, two of whom were undercover game wardens.

"I don't care if it's a guide or a weekend fisherman. You break the law, you break the law. Period," said a Lake Texoma striper guide.

He wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

He said he trusts the limit set in place by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife.

"They've set these rules in place for a reason and we believe they work," he said.

According to state law, every fisherman on the Oklahoma side of the lake must follow them.

Each fisherman can catch 10 fish per day, but only two of those can be 20 inches or longer.

"You can't keep more than your limit," he said.

Oklahoma Game Warden Trey Hale said if you catch more than the limit, you're supposed to throw them back.

He said that's because the bigger striped bass run the lake. They reproduce to keep the lake's reputation as a prime spot for striper fishing.

"Trust the biologists. Don't break the rules. If you do break the rules, you should be punished severely," the guide said.

Hale said that's what happened to one self-employed striper guide last Wednesday.

Court records show his name is Shannon Newsom.

He said when they went to clean the fish, game wardens noticed 42 total, so for four people on a boat, that's over the daily limit by two.

Plus, only 8 bass over 20 inches long were allowed. Hale said they had 34.

But it's the guide's job to keep up with the limit.

"You're either supposed to quit fishing or release them back into the lake. You cannot keep them," said the guide, who wanted to remain anonymous.

He thinks punishment should be harsher than a monetary fine.

"I think they should be banned for first offense. Jail time for second," he said.

Each charge Newsom could face is a $249 fine, making the total close to $8,000.

His court date is set for September.