WCO Diary

by WCO Dave Kaneski,
Northern Wayne County


photo-Art Michaels

September began in the midst of yet another holiday weekend, Labor Day. This is traditionally the end to the busy boating season and the priority for enforcement then moves back to fishing. The majority of the citations we issued or filed were for fishing violations. Most were for people who didn't get around to buying a license yet or for finding the need to keep undersized fish for supper.

On one occasion a woman was having a very successful day fishing on one of our more popular lakes. However, if she had read the summary book that's issued with the purchase of a license, she probably could have avoided receiving the citation for the many 8-inch largemouth bass she harvested. Reading the summary book probably would have resulted in another man's releasing, instead of harvesting, two illegal bass on Lower Woods Pond, and receiving a citation.

With the boating season ending, hunting season came into full swing. We served the dozens of arrest warrants accumulated during the busy season. Most people would acknowledge responsibility for their actions, but some would not. One man spent three days in jail for his violations of the fishing and boating laws.

At the end of September, I spent several days at the Bloomsburg Fair. During my three shifts there, I spoke to hundreds of people on a number of topics ranging from personal watercraft to freshwater jellyfish. I listened to dozens of stories and answered hundreds of questions. I also gave advice on techniques, strategies and methods for making anglers' fishing adventures more enjoyable.

The honor guard brought me to the Southcentral Region on two separate occasions. The first was a glorious occasion. It was my honor to post the PA Fish & Boat Commission's flag for the graduation of the H.R. Stackhouse 15th Class graduation ceremony at the Harrisburg headquarters. The second occasion was a tribute to Commissioner Enoch S. "Inky" Moore Jr. in Newville. We posted the colors and at the conclusion of the ceremony a 21-gun salute honored his memory.

September allowed for some fishing adventures of my own. The conditions were perfect. I landed trout between 5 inches and 5 pounds! All fell for dry flies. During these adventures I met some interesting individuals. The first was Bob Collander of Scranton. It seemed we found ourselves together on a very productive day. We swapped a few stories, and Dyberry Creek was mentioned. I told Bob that it would be stocked the next week. He gave me a very curious look on the bank of the river we were fishing in Lackawanna County. He did show up and assisted DWCO Jack Osborne and me in stocking the Delayed-Harvest section of Dyberry Creek that next week. I guess you never really know who's fishing next to you.

Two nonbelievers from New Jersey also learned this lesson. On a day off on a dreary Sunday afternoon, I was fishing a very small stream section in Susquehanna County. I was using a fly rod and reel that I had just restored. In 90 minutes of very carefully positioning myself, I landed nearly a dozen trout. In fact, those fish were the first trout the reel had been used on in nearly 60 years. I was having a terrific time. Then I heard voices. These voices said, "There's someone there." Instead of fishing another stream section, these two men, in their early 20s, opted to fish in the very same spot where I was. As they entered the water in their sneakers and cast their lines within three feet of me, they seemed to be disappointed when they didn't receive an immediate strike from a hungry trout. They asked me if I thought they had spooked the fish. I smiled, and as I reeled in my line and packed in my rod and reel for the day, I responded that trout are sometimes finicky. After a few minutes I approached the fishermen who were not up on the current etiquette of small-stream fishing. I identified myself and asked to see their fishing licenses? You guessed it, neither had a license. Both were cited and sent on their way.

I made a few other fishing trips. I had the opportunity to fish with retired WCO Jan Caveney on Mountain Spring Creek, and with Cumberland County WCO John Cummings in "The Ditch" on Big Spring Creek. Both trips were very successful adventures. I finally convinced my fishing partner Dave Verdetto to put down his archery equipment and go fishing. He was skeptical of my stories of success at first, but when the first fish he landed was a 14-inch brown trout, he was convinced.

We issued 21 more citations, attended four hearings, caught nearly 200 trout, and served nearly a dozen warrants.

September/October 2001 PA Angler & Boater

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