ECOs bust illegal fishers, release osprey

State Department of Environmental Conservation officers (ECOs) busted illegal fishermen in the southern Adirondacks last month, and assisted an osprey whose nest on a power pole had caught fire.

Saratoga County

On Tuesday, July 24, ECO Robert Higgins stopped at the Saratoga Lake boat launch to check on fishermen in the area. Higgins saw a woman with two fishing poles get up from her seat when he approached, and she said her friend was using the poles. A man nearby confirmed this, but Higgins noted he was using two other poles as well, while the legal limit is for each person with a fishing license is three poles.

Higgins also inspected the man’s catch for the day and found that numerous black crappie were below the legal size limit. The man was issued tickets for using too many poles and taking six under-sized crappie. The crappie were returned to the lake.

Washington County

On Friday, July 27, ECOs responded to the scene of a power pole fire when an osprey nest caught fire. One adult osprey was taken to a rehabilitator but could not recover from its injuries. Two juvenile osprey were found on the ground nearby, and one was taken to a rehabilitator for treatment of smoke inhalation.

The power company repaired the pole and put a nesting platform on top of the pole. On Aug. 4, ECOs Stephen Gonyeau and Marcia Goodrich returned to the pole with the juvenile osprey to release it, but the bird was not old enough to take off from the ground. The ECOs placed the bird on the roof of a nearby barn and then left the area so the adult osprey could care for their young.

Fulton County

While on patrol on the Great Sacandaga Lake, ECOs Robert Higgins and Steve Shaw approached a boat with a father and son fishing out of it. The two men properly possessed fishing licenses and life preservers, along with a stringer of fish hanging off the side of the boat.

The bass, walleye, perch and bullhead on the stringer were all legal, however a cooler on the boat contained two undersized walleye. The men were issued tickets for taking undersized walleye.