ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION OFFICERS ARREST MEN FOR ILLEGAL TAKE OF WALLEYE
On April 4, 2011 at 9:00 p.m. Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) in St. Lawrence County charged five men in connection with unlawful taking of walleye in the Town of Rossie, St. Lawrence County. The men were seen taking walleye off of spawning beds in the Indian River, one of the prime breeding grounds for walleye from Black Lake.
According to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Captain Stephen Pierson out of the Watertown, Region 6 office, the men arrested Monday evening included:
- Jacob R Shampine (age 19) of Antwerp
- Thomas Morro (age 17) of Gouverneur
- Jesse Paul Spellicy (age 17) of Gouverneur
- Cody L Fuller (age 19) of Gouverneur
- Ethan C Constance (age 20) of Gouverneur
Each person was charged with one count of disturbing walleye on the spawning beds and one count of taking walleye during the closed season. Mr. Shampine was additionally charged with fishing without a license.
In the early spring walleye leave the lakes and swim upstream to spawn on rocky riverbeds, usually in areas of heavy current. Thousands of walleye converge in short stretches of narrow streams and rivers to spawn, making them vulnerable and a tempting target for poachers.
The DEC has increased its patrols in popular spawning areas in an attempt to combat this abuse of the state’s natural resources. This illegal activity not only takes the fish when they are most vulnerable, but can have serious implications on future fish levels and reduce opportunities for lawful anglers. DEC also urges anyone who witnesses a violation of the laws and regulations protecting New York’s natural resources to contact their 24 Hour Dispatch toll free at either 1-877-457-5680 or 1-800-TIPP-DEC or report an environmental violation online at the DEC website.
The men are scheduled to answer the charges in the Town of Rossie Court on April 20, 2011 and face fines of up to $250.00 and up to 15 days in jail for each offense. The 17 walleye caught were able to be released alive back into the river.