It’s bound to happen, I suppose. Anytime you have a gathering of thousands upon thousands of new-ish anglers, there’s a better than average potential for some skirting of the rules. That said, percentages weren’t bad in the Eastern Sierra, where 17 California Department of Fish & Wildlife enforcement officers contacted an estimated 3,000 anglers during the end-of-April opening weekend: 60 ticketed violations, 43 warnings, and one arrest.
Here’s a story about the opener as posted on the DFW’s website:
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers contacted more than 3,000 anglers while patrolling the local waterways in Inyo and Mono Counties during the trout season opener that started April 27. Over the opening weekend, 17 CDFW wildlife officers issued 60 citations, 43 warnings and made one arrest.
Violations included over-limits of trout, fishing closed waters, fishing without a license, use of prohibited gear and bait, fishing out of season, angling in a hatchery, snagging, boating without a fire extinguisher, no life jackets, boating under the influence, excessive speed and use of multiple poles.
Officers also conducted a wildlife checkpoint operation to promote safety, education and compliance with law and regulations through education, preventative patrol and enforcement.
On Tuesday, April 30, the southbound lanes of U.S. 395 were reduced to one lane and all vehicles traveling south on U.S. 395 were screened by the Department’s law enforcement officers. Screening consisted of an introduction and brief questions. Approximately 2,000 vehicles were contacted. Of those, 250 vehicles submitted to an inspection. A total of 14 violations were found which included 11 over-limits of trout, one driving without a valid driver’s license, one unregistered vehicle and possession of scales and drug paraphernalia.
Average screening took less than 20 seconds per vehicle and the average inspection took about 2 minutes, 20 seconds per vehicle. If violations were found, the occupants were detained for an average of 28 minutes to conduct the inspection, interviews and issue citations.
Anglers found in violation of the trout limit were returned their legal possession limit of 10 trout per person; the excess trout above the legal limit were seized. A total of 88 seized trout were donated to the California Department of Forestry conservation camp.
The Department provided informative literature about the invasive quagga mussel and New Zealand mud snail to help reduce the spread of these invasive species.