Ministry Probes Alleged Fish Tampering in Top 50 Classic Tournament

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Delving into an issue linked to the Top 50 Classic tournament, which took place recently on Lake Nipissing, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is in the midst of an investigation. At this point, the ministry has refrained from divulging details until the probe is finalized, as stated in an email sent last Thursday.

According to certain informed individuals, the dispute stems from accusations two participating teams manipulated the size of the northern pike fish they caught during the tournament on September 2 in order to gain an upper hand. With a leading prize of $10,000, the contest stipulates that three out of five northern pike caught by anglers should measure 61 cm or less. The implicated parties have been alleged to trim the tails of larger pike to comply with the set restriction.

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In a Facebook post pertaining to the tournament, mention was made of the alleged foul play. It stated that these fishermen adamantly refute the claims of altering fish lengths during official tournament hours. The post also indicated that without incontrovertible evidence, they were allowed to continue to fish on the final day of the competition.

Interestingly, those at the center of the allegations have volunteered to undergo polygraph tests to substantiate their innocence. The social media post, dated September 5, revealed that the tournament’s management was coordinating the execution of these examinations. Refusal to submit to the lie detector test, it warned, would result in a permanent ban from the Top 50 Pike Series and all associated fishing events.

The post acknowledged that the 2023 season hadn’t concluded in a satisfactory manner for any involved parties. However, it reassured them that the situation is under control.

When approached by CTV News for comment on the matter, tournament organizers chose to remain silent until the MNRF’s investigation reaches its conclusion, although they affirmed their willingness to speak openly once the investigation is complete.