Press release from IDNR FORT MADISON, Iowa - Four men pleaded guilty on Oct. 18, to illegally collecting game fish from the Mississippi River in their commercial fishing nets, then offering the game fish for sale. John Gilpin, 59, and James Gilpin, 33, both of Dallas City, Ill., Joseph Gilpin, 52, from Pella, Iowa and Reggie Brannon, 50, from Montrose, Iowa, received a one year suspension from taking any aquatic wildlife, and a three year suspension of their commercial fishing license. The plea agreement was reached with the Lee County Attorney's Office. Iowa Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Jeff Harrison and Illinois conservation police officer Mike Shell were investigating the individuals on April 20. Harrison had set up in an area along the Mississippi River to witness the operation and Shell was hidden nearby in a boat. Harrison witnessed the men remove walleyes and other game fish from their 1,200-foot seine used to harvest rough fish under a commercial fishing license. The game fish were moved to a different net, sunk, then collected later and offered for sale. "We had so many people come up to us and say it's about time they got caught," Harrison said. "They were difficult to catch." The Gilpins forfeited a 26-foot boat, 200 horsepower motor, cooler, winch, pump, miscellaneous fishing equipment and the rough fish they had caught. The fines totaled more than $3,000. The forfeited property totaled more than $30,000. The Iowa DNR cited John Gilpin and three other individuals in 1991 with 2,600 counts of illegally collecting crappies, bluegills, walleye, catfish and bass at the Eddyville Sand Plant, a backwater of the Des Moines River. Gilpin pleaded guilty to 10 counts; paid a $1,000 fine and $10,000 in liquidated damages. The State seized the boat, motor, trailer and equipment. For more information, contact Iowa Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Jeff Harrison at 319-470-0788.