Liz Reitz, who landed a 39-pound striped bass last year on Lake Powell but ultimately lost it to the courts, now has it back.
A Utah judge last week fined her $100 for fishing without a license but ordered the state to return the lunker to the Castle Rock real estate agent.Federal wildlife officers seized the fish in March - off the wall of the B&B Cafe in Castle Rock - to use as evidence in Reitz's trial for fishing without a license.
Until she was found guilty last month, the 39-pound, 12-ounce bass Reitz landed on Jan. 1, 1987, had been recognized by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources as a state record.
A San Juan County jury found her guilty of unlawful possession of protected wildlife after a one-day trial in mid-May. The prosecutor recommended a $100 fine and wanted the mounted fish confiscated.
But Reitz said last month she wanted to keep the fish "because we've been through so much since I caught it."
Utah's 7th Circuit Judge Bruce Halliday agreed with her and ruled the woman attached so much "added value" to the striper that forfeiture would be tantamount to a taking of property without due process of law.