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Anglers Charged with Cheating in Bass Tournament in Utah

Photo submitted

Two anglers from southern Utah have been charged after a lengthy investigation after they were suspected of cheating in a October 2018 two-day bass tournament on Lake Powell. Robert Dennett, 45, of Washington City, and Kamron Wootton, 35, also of Washington City, were charged in Kane County's 6th District Court with bribery or threat to influence a contest, a third-degree felony; unlawful release of wildlife, a class A misdemeanor; and unlawful captivity of protected wildlife, a class B misdemeanor. According to charging documents filed, the men caught and transported bass from Quail Creek Reservoir and then attempted to weigh them in at the contest on Lake Powell some 140 miles away.

According to witnesses, the two men in question presented bass for the first day weigh-in at the tournament. The folks bumping the bass and in the release boat realized quickly these bass did not look like any others they had seen all day. The fish weren't able to swim and were dying. And their frame and appearance did not match those of Lake Powell bass. The fish were short and fat and the Lake Powell fish that time of year had big heads but were long and skinny. The fish were confiscated and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources was called in to investigate. The second day, Utah DWR officers were in plain clothes when the team came to weigh their fish and confronted the duo and confiscated their fish.

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Bass presented versus health bass same day from Lake Powell

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The two fish on the left were part of the catch in question. The bass on the right is a healthy bass from Lake Powell caught that day in the tournament. The guys working the bump table and release boat verified that the fish in question did not look like any of the other bass submitted that day and called in biologists and Utah DWR to help. 

We'll update this story once the case goes to court on the outcome and the very interesting details of how UTAH DWR was able to verify all of this scientifically. 

See the UTAH Division of Wildlife Resources statement here.