Larry Finstad, 48, of Harlan, has been charged with one count of illegally taking fish by hand.
Finstad faces fines and civil damages of $177 for illegally taking a catfish by hand, also known as “noodling.” He is scheduled to appear before the Shelby County Magistrate in July.
State Conservation Officer Dave Tierney received a call on the Turn-In-Poachers hotline regarding a Harlan Tribune article featuring a photo of a man holding a 30-pound flathead catfish that he caught “noodling,” which is a method of using your hands to catch fish.
Finstad admitted to wrestling a 30-pound catfish on the banks of the Nishnabotna River near Harlan, and was quoted in the paper saying “It was tough work, and wrestling him took about 15 minutes.”
Conservation officers have been seeing an increase in TIP calls of people hand fishing over the past year. Although popular on reality TV shows, “noodling” or “hillbilly hand fishin” is illegal in Iowa.
State Conservation Officer Richard Price, who assisted in the investigation, located Finstad in the Shelby County Jail where he had been arrested the previous night for possession of burglary tools.
The Harlan Police Department and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department assisted in the investigation.