On May 24, 2011, a DEC Environmental Conservation Officer CO was dispatched to a complaint from a concerned sportsman regarding a man fishing for black bass out of season.
The unnamed sportsman reported that he had observed a man fishing in Harris Bay of Lake George in the Town of Lake George and keeping the bass he caught. He confronted the man explaining that it was illegal to keep bass caught at this time of year and suggesting that he release the fish. The sportsman further stated that the man dumped the fish back into the lake and hurriedly left the area leaving his fishing rod and tackle box,
After viewing the photographs and taking the fishing gear, the ECO patrolled the area streets anticipating the fisherman would return for his gear. The ECO spotted the vehicle a short time later on Main Street in the Village of Lake George and stopped it.
When confronted with the evidence including the photographs, the fisherman, David Chan, 68, from Whitestone, NY, admitted to the violations. He was charged with fishing without a license and taking black bass out of season. Chan was immediately arraigned before the Town of Lake George Court where he pled guilty to both charges and paid a fine of $225.
Black Bass (largemouth bass and smallmouth bass) are exceptionally vulnerable this time of the year. The fish are guarding their spawning beds and are very protective, striking at almost anything. Black Bass may only be taken from the third Saturday in June and to November 30. The rest of the year they can be caught but must be immediately released back into the water, except in waters in Franklin and Hamilton County where it is illegal to fish for black bass from December 1 to the Friday before the third Saturday in June.
The sportsman who observed the illegal activity did an excellent job of documenting and reporting the violations. He not only prevented more fish from being taken and he also prevented the violator from getting away. DEC does not encourage the public to confront people breaking the law. DEC does encourage people to report violations of environmental conservation laws and regulations to 24-hour TIPP (Turn In Polluters and Poachers) Hotline at 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332) or by e-mail to R5dsptch@gw.dec.state.ny.us