Notes from the Streams

Somerset Co. Sportsmen's League

The Somerset County Sportsmen's League recently made its second $1000 contribution to the Fish & Boat Commission's Co-operative Nursery Grant Program. The group made its contribution at its annual banquet, last October. The League officers presented the check to Commission President Don Anderson. Commissioner Anderson then presented the League with a framed print, "The Waterway Susquehanna". This print and other donated items were raffled that evening for a League fundraiser. A total of $737 was brought in by the raffle. Several clubs purchased and donated Conserve 2000 items for the raffle. Somerset County has eight clubs that sponsor nine nurseries. Somerset County Co-ops rear and release nearly 40,000 trout each year into waters open to public fishing in Somerset County.--Commissioner Donald K. Anderson.

Lost-and-found boats

Having served as a waterways conservation officer in a district that borders many miles of the Susquehanna River, I constantly found boats that had escaped their moorings and ended up downstream. Trying to locate the owners was sometimes difficult because in many cases these lost boats contained no identifiable markings. I spent many hours getting these lost boats back to their owners. Most of these hours could have been saved if boat owners would take a few precautions to help us help them.

First, please take the time to moor your boat securely. Second, register your boat. Make sure to include your phone number on the registration application. Also make sure your boat has a legible hull identification number (HIN). If your lost boat is found, by tapping into our secure boat registration computer files, in moments we can track its owner very easily by the boat registration or HIN, especially if you have provided your phone number on your registration.--George Geisler, Assistant to the Director, Bureau of Law Enforcement.

Cloe's trout

If the trout at Cloe Dam seem to be getting tougher to catch this year, there might be a good reason. This past ice fishing season, the list of ice fishing gear lost through holes in the ice includes one tip-up, one ice jigging rod and a pair of eyeglasses. Not only will the trout be able to take a better look at your presentation. They will know what to look for.--WCO Rick Valazak, Jefferson County.

Not to mention the smell...

While checking fishermen on Laurel Lake one February afternoon, I approached a man who was observed by an undercover deputy catching over the limit of trout during the extend trout season. I observed two trout on the man's stringer, and he became very nervous. Knowing that he had a cooler with more trout, I asked him where his cooler was. He said he did not have a cooler and reached in his pocket and removed two cans of beer and said, "Here, you got me." After explaining that although it was against park regulations to possess an alcoholic beverage in a state park, I was more concerned with where his cooler was. He again replied, "I don't have a cooler."

Deputy Briner then radioed me and informed me that he observed the man put the cooler in the cab of his truck, parked nearby. After getting consent to search the vehicle, the man then admitted that the cooler was behind the seat of his truck. Opening the cooler, I found three more whole trout with the heads and entrails of four other trout. In addition, I discovered a plastic bag containing the heads and entrails of seven additional trout. Because of the strong odor and appearance of these fish parts, it was evident that they had been caught several days before.

The man confessed that he caught four fish the day before and five this day, but the others were caught over a period of several days. I suspected they were all caught in one day but could not prove it. He was subsequently cited for catching two trout over the limit that day and for catching one over the limit the day before. He was also cited by DCNR for possessing alcohol in the park and cited by the Game Commission for failure to report a harvested deer (tags were found in his vehicle). Not only was this individual a terrible liar as he dug himself in further and further with each lie, but he was also a terrible poacher because he brought the evidence of his crime back to the scene...not to mention the smell!--WCO Craig A. Garman, Cumberland County.

PA, VA and the ocean

During a steady stream of stocking questions one morning, I received a call from a man who asked me if he needed a license to fish in the ocean. I asked him what ocean he was referring to because Pennsylvania doesn't border an ocean. He said Virginia. I told him he would have to call the state of Virginia to get their regulations. He said he thought Virginia was in Pennsylvania! I checked the clock--it was only 9:30 a.m., so I was left wondering if this guy was serious, kidding me, or if he had more than orange juice that morning.--Michele L. Klein, Southwest Region Office Secretary.

Just think of the fun

Recently while preparing to launch the Commission patrol boat on the lake of one of my private communities, I and several deputies heard the following: "The police are here. There goes all the fun for the day, dear. Get the PFDs--we will need them today."

It's a real shame that this boater cannot have fun when a state patrol is on the water. I guess that obeying the rules and regulations that all boaters must obey was the difference. Just think of the fun he and his family would have had if his boat sank and he didn't have any PFDs. What about the fun he would have if he were going the wrong way on the lake a collided with another boat? Just think of the fun he and his family would have with someone floundering in the water who was unable to swim if he violated the slow, no-wake regulation and his wake knocked someone into the water from a dock or another boat.

When the Commission patrols Commonwealth waters, we are not there to stop all fun on the water--just the opposite. With everybody obeying the laws, regulations and rules of the road, and using good common sense, everybody will have fun on the water.--WCO Gary Slutter, Western Schuylkill/Northern Berks Counties.

Dirt and gravel roads and TU

A recently adopted activity known as the Dirt and Gravel Road Program has quietly been implemented in Pennsylvania. Funding is provided to municipalities to address problems associated with runoff and erosion from roads adjacent to streams, causing problems associated with siltation. I'd like to congratulate Trout Unlimited, perhaps the primary initiator of the program. TU's efforts were paramount in its establishment. TU members were then instrumental in making initial surveys to determine which roads needed improvement.

We are in an era in which group involvement has become less "fashionable," especially in sportsmen's clubs very active in a community. Even though this ethic has not vanished completely, it has diminished greatly. An organization that is still going as strong as ever is Trout Unlimited. Its local chapters and members still involve themselves in efforts to improve the sport of angling. There are still many pressures that would serve only to degrade the quality of angling in Pennsylvania were it not for the activities of groups oriented to maintaining water and angling quality. Trout Unlimited is in the forefront of this necessary concept.--WCO Larry R. Baker (retired), Mifflin/Juniata Counties.

Witnessing a transformation

Ask dedicated trout anglers and I'm sure they'll agree that a hot, humid, hazy late-August afternoon is not the best time for success in such an endeavor. I was patrolling the Delaware River near the Zane Grey Access, where the Lackawaxen River meets the Delaware. I could hear what sounded like several voices of young boys, perhaps sneaking a quick swim in the area. I reluctantly left the comfort of the air conditioning to take a quick perusal of the area when the four lads, ranging in ages from 9 to 11, came racing from behind the bushes toward me.

"Mister, mister, my friend just caught a big fish!" I gazed in amazement as one of the boys proudly displayed a 17-inch rainbow trout, so fat and healthy that it appeared to have shoulders. "Is this a rainbow?" He asked. "You bet," I said, observing the look of self-satisfaction on the boy's face, "and a dandy at that. What'd you catch him on," I asked, and the boy went into a detailed description of the particular riff, lure and technique that had proved so successful, a treatise worthy of even the most inveterate fly fisherman yet giving due credit to the friend who helped land the prize.

As the boy rambled, I could not keep from looking at his eyes as they madly danced, adding color and texture to the story. My neck tingled with vicarious excitement, as if I had been the one who had grappled the cold, slippery fish, holding it firmly to the shore. I suggested that the boy take his trophy up the street to the tackle shop for a well-deserved photo and the chance to tell his story to the nay-sayers that usually decorate the "liar's bench."

With a smile I returned to the patrol vehicle, thinking that these few minutes had made up for an entire year's aggravation from the less considerate people we sometimes encounter. Suddenly, in a moment of terrible clarity, I was struck by the enormity of what had happened. I had just witnessed an event of cosmic proportion, a rite of passage that few experience. In those few minutes, I watched a boy who fishes turn into a fisherman.--WCO Leo E. George, Northern Wallenpaupack District.

Who's next door?

I asked a neighboring officer to serve an arrest warrant for me in Scranton. After knocking on the door with no answer, the WCO decided to call the defendant on the phone. The WCO knocked on the neighbor's door and asked to use the phone. This sweet little old lady was very happy to let the officer use her phone. She was very friendly and conversed with the officer as he dialed the phone number. After the phone rang many times with no answer, she asked who the WCO was calling. The WCO told her the name of the defendant and that he had a warrant for this man's arrest. With that the lady screamed, "Get out of my house--that is my grandson!" The WCO suddenly found himself out on the street. He should have read the note below the phone number that explained who lived next to the defendant.--WCO Larry L. Bundy Jr., Wyoming/Eastern Sullivan Counties.

May/June 2000 Angler & Boater

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