Update: Walleye Tournament Cheaters Plead Guilty

A plea deal has been struck with former tournament walleye anglers Chase Cominsky (left) and Jacob Runyan (right).

Update: Walleye Tournament Cheaters Plead Guilty

(Author’s note: Click here to watch the moment two fishermen were caught stuffing several pounds of lead sinkers in walleyes during a late-September 2022 tournament on Lake Erie. Anglers around the world have been waiting for an update to this story, and news finally broke today.)

Only minutes before jury selection for a trial was set to begin, anglers Chase Cominsky and Jacob Runyan pleaded guilty to cheating (fifth-degree felony), as well as unlawful ownership of wild animals (fourth-degree misdemeanor). As part of the plea, charges were dropped for attempted grand theft (fifth-degree felony), and possessing criminal tools (fifth-degree felony). 

The two will have their fishing licenses suspended for up to 3 years, and they will forfeit Cominsky’s walleye boat, motor, trailer, electronics and other fishing gear, which are valued at approximately $100,000, to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. 

In exchange for the plea, prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence of 6 months probation. Prosecutors say they were ready to call at least 30 witnesses to testify regarding the charges stemming from the cheating incident at the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Championship on Sept. 30, 2022.

The anglers will be sentenced on May 11, 2023.


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