Please understand we FULLY support paylake's that ONLY stock farm raised catfish.
Exposing Paylakes
The "Stocking" Truth Revealed

By: ExposingPaylakes | December 02, 2018

Paylakes & Paddlefish

On Nov 27, 2018, commercial fisherman David M. Cox was sentenced after a United States District Court accepted his plea agreement. Cox was charged with several counts, one being a violation of the "Lacey Act" - a federal law protecting wildlife - a violation he's been charged with in the past.

Cox, of Midwest Caviar, is mainly known for harvesting and selling paddlefish caviar netted from the Ohio River. By-catch of large catfish caught in Cox's nets, have been known to be stockpiled in his pond, for future sales to paylakes.

In 2001, Cox, a previously convicted wildlife felon - sat on a special board aimed to help Kentucky Fish and Wildlife rewrite the fishing rules and regulations.

Below a Facebook screenshot shows Cox seining catfish from his holding pond, with well know paylake owner, James Reed of Catfisherman's Paradise. Another Facebook screenshot shows a 73lb flathead Cox caught - that will - "go to a paylake for sure".

James Reed and David Cox seine catfish from Cox's Holding Pond - these fish are bycatch from Cox's paddlefish nets.
Facebook Post with Cox

The Undercover Investigation

Cox faced charges after an extensive investigation, in which an Indiana Department of Natural Resources Officer worked undercover as a “helper” in Cox's commercial fishing operation. The officer was able to witness and covertly record numerous fishing violations, as well as, gun ownership violations.

Cox, a convicted felon, is no stranger to wildlife offenses. Some past convictions include - a felony, under the Lacey Act; and a misdemeanor, for illegally fishing for paddlefish. These old convictions mimic his latest disregard for the law, with the addition of illegal possession of firearm(s) by a convicted felon.

 According to the prosecution, Cox's disregard of commercial fishing regulations extended beyond simply keeping and killing undersized fish. The prosecution said, "he fished wherever and however he wanted". They stated he fished in closed areas where fish congregate, contributing to overfishing. Adding, he also "underreported the fish that he caught or that died in his nets" - affecting biologists’ ability to accurately assess the health of fish species.

The Tattoo

Cox was very forthcoming and seemingly proud of his past convictions with the undercover officer. He was particularly proud of his past assault of a conservation officer - touting his tattoo of a game warden hanging from a noose. Cox even went on to describe to the undercover, how he lured the wildlife officer into his fishing boat, drove off with the agent against his will, and after finally bringing the wildlife officer back ashore, roughed him up and took his gun.

Pictured in Red is David M Cox of Midwest Caviar Fish Processing


Despite friends and family submitting more than 80 support letters to the court, Cox was sentenced to a two-year term on the charges. Cox was also ordered to pay restitution to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife Fund, in the amount of $1,000.00. Along with, a special assessment of $200.00 to the United States and forfeiture of property - including his fishing boat, trailer and motor. Upon his release, Cox will be supervised for 3 years.


Commercial fisherman and paylakes operating within the Ohio River Valley have found themselves, time and time again, on the wrong side of the law. Last April, the President of Kentucky's Commercial Fisherman's Association was arrested on attempted murder charges. In 2012, a Kentucky Conservation Officer - who was also a licensed commercial fisherman, was charged with wildlife crimes. And over the last four years, paylakes in both Ohio and Kentucky have been charged with numerous violations, such as, but not limited to - guns, drugs, stolen goods, gambling and laundering.

Meanwhile, the state of Kentucky - the "gateway state" for these commercial fishermen and paylakes, and the state which dictates and controls most of the Ohio River - cite a couple of  "bad actors" in Ohio. 


Jimmy England

Posted on : December 28, 2018

To the captain your a coward talking shit probably don’t have a friend
on the river just running outher people nets !!!

Indiana Fisherman

Posted on : December 27, 2018

Wow, what a piece of work and he gives all of us fishermen a bad name. I
truly wish they had taken all his gear, boat and vehicle he pulls it
with and sold it off in auction with huge fines being prior charges.
This is another common case of terrible court decisions. He should have
had been fined a huge amount putting him outta business as well as
stripping any kind of permits to hunt or fish for life as well as anyone
else involved including the pay lake owners knowing very well what they
were doing was extremely crooked.

Jimmy England

Posted on : December 27, 2018

Bunch of shit !! Easy to be a hatter when you don’t know the man.. The
man I know was always there for anyone that was hungry,homeless, or in
need willing to help anyone!! Sounds like the tattoo is a big deal to

Jimmy England

Posted on : December 27, 2018

One of the only real people to Exist !! What you see is what you get
that’s the Dave I know... Always willing to help the needy feed the
hungry..Sounds like he is being judged for a tattoo!!! If you don’t know
the man you shouldn’t try to judge him!!!


Posted on : December 27, 2018

Fuck him and what he does for his shity family that helped him. You are
so stupid of course they lie to get undercover. Should of left his ass
in the river with concrete shoes.

Crawford County, Indiana

Posted on : December 26, 2018

I know these people dearly, and they only hired that “helper” because he
lied saying his mother was dying of cancer! He would have never stepped
foot any boat if he would have never told that huge lie. Also, in
regards to the tattoo, have any of you ever even seen it on his leg?
You’re calling him a low life, but have you ever even seen what he has
done for his family and his county?

Dale Sides

Posted on : December 25, 2018

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy !<br />
Not near enough though I’m afraid !!


Posted on : December 06, 2018

What a low life

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