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Clinton County Men Illegally Spear Walleye During Spawn

April 16th, 2009 · 7 Comments · News

ECOs and Poached Walleye

ECOs pose with Net and Spear used to poach Walleye

14 Poached Walleye

14 Poached Walleye including visibly egg-laden female.

DEC ARRESTS TWO CLINTON COUNTY MEN FOR POACHING WALLEYE

Two Clinton County men have been arrested by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) for poaching walleye from the Saranac River in the Town of Franklin, Franklin County, Regional Director Betsy Lowe announced today.

“This type of illegal activity can have significant impacts on the walleye fishery and reduce fishing opportunities for lawful anglers,” Regional Director Lowe said. “Our officers will continue their efforts to seek out and arrest poachers to put an end to these illegal practices. Protection of New York State’s fish and wildlife resources is an important mission of this Department.”

Mark S. Vann, 46, of Redford, N.Y., and Adams P. Brien, 31, of Saranac, N.Y., were arrested at approximately 1:30 a.m., on Wednesday, April 15, by ECOs Jeff Hovey and Dan Darrah. The two men allegedly used a nine-foot spear to impale the 14 walleye found in their possession. The men were each charged with four violations – taking fish by means other than angling; possessing a spear within 200 feet of water in the Adirondack Park; taking fish during the closed season; and taking over the limit of walleye.

Vann pleaded guilty in April 2005 for spearing walleye and was fined $400.

Walleye, the largest member of the perch family, are popular sportfish and are held in high esteem due to their excellent taste. Walleye prefer the deep water sections of large lakes, streams, and rivers. They have large, light-sensitive eyes that help them locate food in poor light. To protect their eyes from the sun, walleye stay in sheltered or deep water during the day and move into shallower water at night. They spawn from mid-March to early April over rocky bottoms of lake shoals or gravel bars in rivers and streams. During spawning they often “stack up” in close proximity to each other in shallow water.

“Walleye are particularly vulnerable during the spawning season due to their dense concentrations in shallow water,” said DEC Fisheries Biologist Leo Demong. “This is why the fishing season for walleye is closed during this period.”

At least one of the walleyes taken was a female laden with eggs. Taking fish before they mature and spawn can have significant adverse effects on walleye populations in a short period of time.

Vann and Brien are scheduled to appear in the Town of Franklin Local Criminal Court on Wednesday, April 22. They each face possible penalties of up to $1,900 in fines and up to 60 days of jail time.


Update: Two Clinton County Men Plead Guilty to Poaching Walleye

May 1, 2009 – Two Clinton County men each pleaded guilty in the Town Franklin Local Criminal Court yesterday to four violations of Environmental Conservation Law related to poaching walleye.

Mark Vann, 46, of Redford, NY, and Adams Brien, 31, of Saranac, NY, were each fined a total of $2,400, the maximum fine for each of the charges, by Town of Franklin Justice Roger Symonds.

DEC Environmental Conservation Officers (ECO) had observed the two men use a nine-foot spear to impale the 14 walleye from the Saranac River on April 15, 2009. Vann and Brien were each charged with, and pleaded guilty to, four violations – taking fish by means other than angling; possessing a spear within 200 feet of water in the Adirondack Park; taking fish during the closed season; and taking over the limit of walleye.

The walleye fishing is closed while they are spawning because they concentrate in shallow waters making them vulnerable to capture.

The walleye fishing season reopens tomorrow, Saturday, May 2, as well as the fishing seasons for pike, pickerel and tiger muskies.

Check the DEC Freshwater Fishing Guide for more information on state-wide and specif waters fishing regulations at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7917.html

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7 Comments so far ↓

  • Small Pines

    I’d be interested to know how exactly they caught them. Do they just patrol bodies of water checking in with each fisherman they see?

  • TourPro

    The ECO’s? Good question. Probably there is a combination of luck and method.

    One guy already was busted once for the same thing. I guess the spot must be known for walleye spawn-fests during this time of year. I’m glad they got caught.

  • Chicago Hospital

    Good thing the ECO’s were able to catch these guys. It would be a shame to lose this fish.

  • equity release calculator

    Poaching is a growing problem in fisheries world wide at the moment. I hate to use the phrase but I guess it could boil down to the credit crisis.

  • TourPro

    Hmm, very interesting. That’s the best comment-spam effort I’ve seen in a long time. I think I’ll let you keep your link.

  • Holiday Homes

    Those poachers don’t know what they are doing. If they harm the population of fish during spawn – no one will get enough fish the next year.

  • cheap bird cages

    I’d be interested to know how exactly they caught them.

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