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Raystown Spearfisherman caught ...

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  • Raystown Spearfisherman caught ...

    PA Fish and Boat Commission are reporting the following:

    Trespassing scuba diving poacher apprehended at Raystown Lake.

    On April 3, 2017 @ approximately 2250 hours WCO Anthony Quarracino along with PGC WCO Richard Macklem II were on routine patrol near the breast of the dam. They discovered a vehicle parked near the power generation plant and assumed someone might be fishing in the area. Having issues with trespassing in the area the two officers progressed by foot under the cover of darkness. Passing the vehicle they observed diving equipment in the back seat. Nearing the water they saw a white light moving under water in a restricted area. Waiting out the violator they observed him surface near the public fishing pier in full dive gear complete with a spear gun and a stringer of fish. Upon contact the violator was found with three large Walleye, two of which were females full of eggs, and a five pound Smallmouth Bass. All were taken illegally with the spear gun. The season for Walleye is also closed. The violator will be charged with misdemeanor serious unlawful take, misdemeanor unlawful devices, misdemeanor criminal trespass, along with several other summary offenses. All of his dive gear and the four fish were seized as evidence. Good work to WCO's Quarracino and Macklem!!
    The one female walleye was about twice the size of the 5 pound smallmouth. UGH! Idiots! Walleye season opens May 6th ... Illegal method used for taking fish out of season in a restricted area, second time offender. This boy is in a heap of trouble! And rightfully so. Glad they caught him!

  • #2
    Been told that charges will be filed on Monday. At that time we will know what charges and the identity of the perpetrator. No one seems to know at this time, which is pretty amazing for such a small community. Usually everyone knows everything about everybody! HA!

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    • #3
      It takes all kinds. Wonder if the John Doe was in danger of becoming a victim of the water intakes?
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      • #4
        Originally posted by GA_Boater View Post
        It takes all kinds. Wonder if the John Doe was in danger of becoming a victim of the water intakes?
        No, he was on the output side of the spillway! If they opened up the gates, "Flushed Away" comes to mind! But since the dam has been identified as one of the top 10 terrorist targets in the state, it just leads to all kinds of wondering ... as a first responder, that is always in the back of our minds. The Army Corp really needs to do more to secure that area.

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        • #5
          Idiot. I don't know about down where you guys are but up here poachers generally get a slap on the wrist. The best penalties here seem to be public shaming on social media wrong or right. That's for a different conversation. There is currently almost 3 million dollars in in unpaid fines related to hunting and fishing offences outstanding here in Ontario. Rip off the government for taxes though and a citizen is looking at hard labour in the Arctic. Actually poaching is legal in Ontario as we still have a huge commercial industry for gamefish including Walleye on Lake Erie.
          Experience is a lifetime of mistakes, wisdom is not making them again.

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          • #6
            From our local paper, The Huntingdon Daily News, April 18th, 2017 ...
            Charges filed for fish poacher

            By April Feagley
            Daily News Staff Writer


            Charges were filed Monday against a Centre County man accused of using scuba equipment to poach fish in the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River.
            Vitaly Anatoly Maslov, 35, of Bellefonte, has been charged with serious unlawful take, taking or possessing by illegal methods, criminal trespass, all misdemeanors, as well as violation of rules and regulations.
            “This will be the first time I’ve utilized the serious unlawful take charges,” said Waterways Conservation Officer Anthony Quarracino of the state Fish and Boat Commission. “It’s been on the books for five or six years, but it’s not every day you get a case like this where someone does something that is so grossly negligent.”

            Serious unlawful take is a charge reserved for someone who takes three or more times the daily limit.
            “This is someone who is out there who seeks to do harm to a species,” he said.
            Quarracino and Wildlife Conservation Officer Richard Macklem of the state Game Commission discovered Maslov in the act of poaching fish using scuba equipment and a mechanized spear gun at approximately 10:50 p.m. April 3 in the area beneath the spillway of the Raystown Dam while on a routine patrol. This is posted as a restricted access area by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
            According to the affidavit of probable cause, Quarracino had previously encountered Maslov swimming with mask, fins and a snorkel in the same restricted area in April 2016. At that time, Maslov was charged with criminal trespass.
            On the night of April 3, the officers observed a white light emanating from the river channel and continued surveillance of the area for approximately one hour and 20 minutes until Maslov surfaced “in full scuba attire (wetsuit, oxygen tank, regulator, mask, fins and snorkel).
            Maslov was found to have illegally taken three large walleye, two of which were females full of eggs, and a 5-pound small mouth bass with the spear gun. Each of the fish had entry wounds in and around the top of their heads from the mechanically propelled spear.
            The four fish and the dive gear were confiscated as evidence.
            “We told the suspect there would have been a lot of anglers who would have loved to have caught those fish legally. That’s not going to happen now, because he ruined it for them,” Quarracino said. “Every licensed angler in the commonwealth paid the price for what this individual did.”
            Quarracino explained that seasons are closed on individual species to help protect spawning females and thus ensure the health of the population.
            “These were spawning. That’s why the season was closed — to protect egg-bearing females. Two of the walleyes had significant egg masses inside them,” he said. “They were ripe to spawn within several days to a week.”
            Cash values placed on the illegally-taken fish are based on replacement value determined by the American Fishery Society calculated on the cost of replacing and restoring the aquatic life within the ecosystem.
            “I absolutely hope these charges are a deterrent to anyone who might attempt something similar,” Quarracino said. “We’re not just looking at fines here, these are misdemeanor charges. He will be required to be fingerprinted and this will stick on his criminal record. There is the potential for jail time. This is more than getting a fine for having one trout over the daily limit, this is someone who committed a grossly negligent act.”

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            • #7
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              Thanks for the update aspeck. We have a huge problem here in Ontario with the Legal spearing of spawning Walleye by some First Nations members. Perfectly legal and totally disrespectful of the environment we all try to be good stewards of.
              Experience is a lifetime of mistakes, wisdom is not making them again.

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