By MIKE DONOGHUE
Islander Staff Writer
GRAND ISLE -- A Winooski man is facing court charges for taking fish illegally in Hatchery Brook near the Grand Isle Fish Culture Station, officials said Tuesday.
Justin Cianchetta, 41, has been ordered to appear Dec. 19 in Vermont Superior Court in North Hero for two counts of taking fish illegally, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department said.
The case involved more than 60 hours of overnight surveillance by pairs of wardens on about a half dozen dates, Lt. Carl Wedin, the northwest supervisor, told The Islander.
Game Warden Jeremy Schmid developed information during the investigation that lead to the issuance of a search warrant for Cianchetta’s residence, the department said. Wardens said they seized fillets from four illegal landlocked salmon that were caught in Hatchery Brook. They also impounded fishing equipment.
The investigation was sparked by various complaints received by wardens regarding anglers illegally fishing in Hatchery Brook during late night and early morning hours in both late October and early November.
Hatchery Brook is closed to fishing from the mouth of the brook at Gordon's Landing, Lake Champlain, upstream 1,150 feet to the main hatchery driveway off Bell Hill Road.
Fish and Wildlife staff also observed wounds consistent with illegal taking while conducting biological evaluations of landlocked Atlantic salmon in Hatchery Brook, Schmid said.
If convicted, Cianchetta will lose his privilege to hunt, fish and trap in Vermont for one year and need to pay fines up to $466 and make $100 in restitution.