spacer
Fishing & boating montage
spacer
County Guide - click for index
spacer
Regional Reports - click for index
spacer
Biologist Reports/Fisheries Management - click for index
spacer
Notes from the Streams banner
spacer
Notes and observations from around Pennsylvania
from Commission Waterways Conservation Officers
spacer
spacer
spacer
But, I wrote it down?
spacer
While checking fishermen I came across a young man with no fishing license. I explained the citation process for fishing without a proper license. When I was done he sheepishly reached in his pocket and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper.

On the paper, about half-way down the list of “to do” items, was buy a fishing license! The next line item was to pay outstanding fines, (take care of arrest warrant) and finally mow grass. He contended he should not be cited, because he intended to get a license, as proved by his “to do” list.

Unfortunately for him, his argument was mute…as his warrants should have made yesterday’s list.

spacer
— WCO Mark Sweppenhiser, Dauphin / Northumberland County
spacer
Dedicated Angler
spacer
Last October I received a call from then Assistant Region Supervisor Larry Furlong. ARS Furlong explained that he had just received a call from a known violator that both he and I had cited several times over the past five years.

This violator had his fishing privileges suspended for failing to complete his time payments. It seems that the violator “Ronald” had finally taken care of his citations and wanted to know if he was allowed to fish again. When ARS Furlong asked Ronald if he had finished payments, Ronald replied that he was getting out of jail that day and wanted to go fishing. ARS Furlong told Ronald that he would have me check with the court to confirm completion of his citations, which I did and Ronald’s fishing privileges were restored.

Since beginning my career with the PA Fish and Boat Commission, I have heard a few strange stories and excuses from suspects and violators. But until that day, I had never heard of someone using their phone time at the County Jail to call to ask for permission to fish!

spacer
— WCO Michael P. Walsh, Eastern Allegheny County
spacer
Anxious for Spring
spacer
I think most would agree… this winter has been much colder and snowier than what we have become accustomed to over the past several years.

My phone rang one morning this winter on yet another cold, blustery winter day. I recognized the caller’s number as that of the Northeast Region office. I answered the call, expecting to hear our region secretary’s voice on the other end of the line informing me of some mistake I had made on my paperwork, and the need to correct it ASAP.

Instead it was my supervisor, Sergeant Bryan Bendock directing me to return a frantic woman’s call about, of all things, a snake in her basement.

I guess I’m not the only one anxious for warmer weather.

spacer
— WCO Kadin Thompson, Wyoming / SW Susquehanna
spacer
Never Too Late
spacer
Recently, I received a call from a man who wanted to pay his fine. This is not an odd request, in fact it happens often.

With the aid of computers I can look at the status of any citation in Pennsylvania since the year 2000. I asked where and when he had received the citation. He told me where and that it was about ten years ago. I said “what?!”

He explained he had gotten a citation for not having a fire extinguisher on his boat on a Sunday. On Monday he stopped at the court and made a twenty dollar payment and then traveled home to New York State. Upon returning home he was arrested and has been in jail since. I did not ask why.

He explained he had just been released from jail, after all this time, and wanted to make “things right.” I looked up his record on the computer and found the citation was from the year 2000!

I gave him the information he needed to pay the fine off and thanked him for his diligence. After three weeks I checked on the citation and it had been paid in full.

spacer
— Captain Larry L. Bundy, Jr., Northeast Region
spacer
No free bucket
spacer
Early this winter, while on patrol with Sgt. Bendock, I stopped into the Sayre boat launch in Bradford County. This is a popular fishing spot any time of the year but unfortunately is often a popular spot for people to leave garbage.

On this day we found no anglers but there was some garbage left. I don’t make a habit of picking up garbage as I could easily fill my truck on a regular basis. But on this day it seemed prudent to clean up the area.  We threw the items in my truck bed and I later disposed of most of the items in a proper receptacle.

I did, however, make an exception. There was a five gallon bucket with a lid attached. We often use these types of buckets to transport reptiles and amphibians to educational programs. I left the bucket in my bed with the expectation of cleaning it. In the next couple of weeks I noticed every time I got into the back of my truck it was smelly. I figured there was maybe some flood mud or some mildew in the bucket no big deal.

One day I decided that my truck needed to be washed. So while I had it in the wash bay I grabbed the bucket to wash it out too. To my dismay the lid appeared to be frozen on and I struggled for a couple minutes to open it. Which lead to an even worse discovery, the bucket contained a dead skunk! This lead to me throwing up in the bay and spending the next couple minutes returning to conduct more becoming of an Officer.

I have no idea how long that skunk was in the bucket but it did not take long for the bucket and its contents to be taken to a proper receptacle like it should have in the first place. This was a hard lesson for a young WCO and I will never forget there is no such thing as a free bucket.

spacer
— WCO Chad M. McKenrick, N. Susquehanna/E. Bradford Counties
spacer
Improving the Odds
spacer
On 12/27/13 around 1122 hours, I received a phone call from the Pennsylvania State Police (Kiski Barracks) informing me there had been a boat accident on the Conemaugh River backwater.

I found out that two individuals were on the river duck/goose hunting when their canoe overturned throwing both men into the water instantly. They were even sitting on their knees on the bottom of the boat to make for a more stable platform. While shooting at some ducks the boat capsized.

The men were wearing Type III USCG approved personal floatation devices and had to swim for approximately 20 minutes in 35 degree water. They then had to walk approximately 1 mile back to their truck in 26 degree weather soaking wet. Their core temperatures were so low that they were transported to the trauma center at Conemaugh Valley Memorial Hospital.

While interviewing the two gentlemen they were both grateful for wearing their personal floatation devices. If they had not, there is no way they would have been able to talk to me.

Each also stated that everything was on their side. They were wearing the personal floatation devices required by law, they had a spare change of clothes in the truck, quick response from emergency personnel, an excellent hospital to adequately treat them from severe hypothermia, and each other to make it out against the odds.

spacer
— WCO Matthew Kauffman, N. Westmoreland County
spacer
Shadows on the Ice
spacer
While on a recent winter patrol looking for early evening ice fishermen with Sergeant Bryan Bendock we found ourselves at Lake Cadjaw. The lake has numerous homes and cabins. We both noticed a number of shadows in the middle of the lake. At first I thought there were only four then another figure appeared.

We found a place where we could better observe these hard-water anglers. It appeared as though they were finished for the day and started heading right towards us. It was now dark enough that our binoculars were useless. They continued to walk straight towards us. When the first of the five approached about 15 yards away we both realized that what we were actually watching was five whitetail deer.

spacer
— WCO David Kaneski, Northern Wayne County
spacer
Love Pink
spacer
While observing two guys fishing along the Ohio River without having fishing licenses displayed, I watched one of the anglers finish his drink and shove the empty plastic bottle into the rocks. They made a few more casts then began walking back to their vehicle leaving the empty bottle. I stopped them halfway up the hill and asked to see their fishing licenses and drink bottles.

One produced his fishing license and empty drink bottle. The angler I saw stash the bottle said, with some attitude, his license was in the car and he never had a bottle. I said, “I saw you stash it in the rocks, besides you weren’t too hard to spot with those Victoria’s Secret Love Pink sweat pants on.” His buddy began laughing out loud. The litterer could only whine, “They’re my girlfriend’s.”

Love Pink got a ticket!

spacer
— WCO Jeremiah Allen, Beaver County
spacer
Not Really Hidden in Plain Sight
spacer
Anymore, I really don’t get surprised at some of the actions that I come across patrolling. Such was the case when two individuals parked right in front of the Southwest Regional Law Enforcement Office and proceeded to smoke marijuana in broad daylight! They may have got away with this crime, but the office has windows that Sergeant Hopkins just happened to be looking out.
spacer
— WCO Patrick Ferko, Somerset County
spacer
A Little Early?
spacer
As I was patrolling my district today, I saw four eagles, a few flocks of turkeys, and a whole “boat load” of deer that were lucky to make it through hunting season. But the thing that really caught my eye, were these ice fisherman who were out on Lake Wallenpaupack.

Normally I wouldn’t think anything of this, but the lake just froze over a week ago and they were sitting not twenty feet from open water. I think that the fisherman up here have a contest each year to see who can get out on the lake first without going through the ice and to see how close they can get to open water. Gotta really love your sport!

(Ice thickness chart)

spacer
— WCO Robert A. Plumb, N. Wallenpaupack District (Pike County)
spacer
This is for the Ones Who Sling the Buckets
spacer
While patrolling the Opening Day of Trout Season this past year here in the northeast I kept thinking back to the months spent in preparation. The workers at the hatchery, the drivers, but most of all the volunteers that come out to help us at their own expense as we stock the lakes, rivers and streams of Pennsylvania with what we hope will bring a smile to a child's face and a new love of a pastime that will last into adulthood. As I walked along Harveys Creek I wondered if any one of the anglers before me gave a thought to the efforts of these individuals.

It is December now and most have moved on to thoughts of hunting or preparing their gear for what we all hope will be a good ice fishing season. As I sit down to go over the stocking list for the upcoming season I look forward to seeing my friends who come out every year to stock trout.

They deserve the appreciation and admiration of every Pennsylvania angler. So this April, when you are standing on the shore and feel a tug on the end of your line tip your hat to the men and women who worked so hard to make Pennsylvania's trout program one of the best.

spacer
— WCO John Cummings, N Luzerne / N Columbia counties
spacer
New Waders
spacer
While securing water samples this past fall on the Allegheny River I realized that my hip boots did not work well with holes in them. I ordered a new pair of hip boots from Harrisburg and was looking forward to securing water samples while remaining dry.

The first sample day with brand new hip boots I was accompanied by WCO Pete Mader. WCO Mader and I made our way to the river and I waded in not feeling any liquid entering my boots. As I prepared to take the first sample WCO Mader and I heard a boat coming upriver. The boat passed me and the operator and I looked at each other like “what are you doing here.” I felt as though I knew the operator of the boat but I could not place the individual right away.

Just after the boat passed, my legs and feet were no longer warm and dry, the wake from the boat rolled right into my brand new hip boots. WCO Mader was on the verge of a hernia from laughter and then to add insult to injury the operator came back. It was retired WCO William Martin on his way up river to catch smallmouth bass. Of course, Martin had to proceed to tell WCO Mader and I how much he was enjoying retirement as I stand there with a brand new hip boots full of water.

spacer
— WCO Erik P. Shellgren, Forest / Clarion / Venago counties
spacer
spacer
Back to top
Loading
Related topics
Region reports
spacer
Angler & Boater Magazine
spacer
Enforcement
spacer
Region offices directory
spacer
 
spacer
Bottom navigation bar
Copyright Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
click for Commonwealth of PA website click for list of PA state agencies click for PA online services Get your fishing license Register/title a boat Web Policies Site Map Contact Us PFBC Home Page