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Interesting way to get the prime fishing spot

Paul Trybul

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I witnessed something last night that I have never seen before in many years of fishing. I have to give this guy credit and what he did was perfectly legal. I had to be in Marseilles last night for business. I had a few hours to kill so I explored fishing the Dresdon dam on the Fox and Marseilles dam on the IL river. Both areas have restricted access for a few hundred yards below the dam, limited shorline access, and water levels that are dangerous to wade. I think the Dresdon dam is a widow maker at any level.


Anyway as I was about to leave, I was walking up to a group of people fishing one of the few prime shore spots off of a sandy point. At the same time a guy and his grilfriend walk up and asked to see fishing licences. It was obvious that this guy wasn't the DNR. There was a little bit of a language barrier but the guy kept asking and stopped being so nice about. He then proceeded to tell this group to "go home" if they didn't have fishing licenses. He then pulled out his cell phone and said you have 2 choices. You can go home now or wait until the DNR gets here after this phone call and pay your fine. Suddenly the language barrier was removed and they packed thier stuff up and left. I have to give this guy credit for his bravado.


The ISA does give out the yellow poacher cards with local enforement numbers for the different regions. The next time you go to fish your favorite fishing hole and you see someone in it maybe it is worth asking 1 simple question before you go find another spot. "Can I see your fishing license"?

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Is that something we really want to advocate? :unsure:


I have to admit that this guy's style is a little outside of my comfort zone as well. After all how many people embrace confrontation?


What would you do if they had a bucket full of smallmouth bass undersized and between April 1 and June 15th? Do you confront them or do you quietly call the DNR and sit back and wait?


I really wasn't advocating anything just telling a story of something I witnessed that got me thinking and how far you can take being a stuart of the river.

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Haha sounds like something I would do. Everyone has their own comfort zone and most wouldn't take the same approach. I've never been one to shy from confrontation though, things is you have to be ready for whatever response you're going to get as it may come quickly. I see a problem I'm probably the first to gripe and the loudest the longest. Things get taken care of quicker that way.


Good for that guy putting the poachers in their place, world needs more men like him!

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Dams are prime fishing spots? LOL.

Good point.


This confrontational guy looked like he liked to work out. His arms were about the size of my legs. He may have been one of those types that was hoping someone would take a swing.


I'm sure there is a way to ask someone if they have a fishing license in a nice way.

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Do you think this guy would have pulled this move if the people fishing were Caucasians?


If you see someone clearing breaking the law... that is one thing; but none of use have the authority to go around asking for licenses. If you saw a non-Caucasian person pulling into a parking space that you want, would you walk up them and demand to see a driver's license and proof of insurance? When I lived in Atlanta, I posted on a fishing board comprised of mostly trout fishermen. Somewhat regularly, posts would be put up about poachers on the water. Most folks always seemed to mention the ethnicity of the non-Caucasians... but I never saw anyone post about poachers that were Caucasian.


It makes me made to see anyone not abiding by fishing regulations, but I wouldn't even think about doing what this guy did. There's no way a normal person could honestly tell me that such actions are 100% ethical.

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Been thinking a lot about poachers as of late.

There are key locations along the Kankakee (as well as the Fox, etc.) that are hammered hard, with absolutely no regard given to aquatic codes.

The ISA was instrumental in the spring regulations when Brent Manning asked for our group's input.

Granted, there are no other groups specific to this species in IL, one would think we'd be asked.

We go to the trouble of posting signs with the regulations, pass out wallet cards with the numbers to call and go far beyond the call of duty for conservation of stream habitat and enabling others with their conservation efforts both monetarily and by providing volunteers in the field.


No stone has been left unturned where education is concerned.

This brings us to the enforcement factor.

The IDNR is strapped.

Stretched to it's breaking point.

Eric is dead-on with his facts...read that and take it to heart.


I despise poachers with all of my being, but that isn't going to make them go away.


So, here's a little more fuel for the fire that might help others with the same burning hatred for the practice to maybe learn to accept that which we have little power over, beyond what we are already doing......


Our streams are managed by utilizing the best scientific data available, and public policy protocols.

When slot limits and size restrictions are instituted, do you suppose they are designed to be followed to some degree from both ends of the spectrum?

What I'm getting at is the question of whether thousands of C&R anglers releasing everything is already putting the fishery far ahead in the game, when compared to a couple hundred fish (or whatever the number might be) getting poached.


2 fish under 12", 1 fish over 18"

What exactly does that mean, and how is that conclusion drawn?


The Kankakee has lost suitable spawning habitat for many species, and the walleye population crashed some years back.

So now they take brood stock and return the fry to the river.

Now, absolutely nothing has been addressed to alleviate the reason for the population crash.

A 30% recruitment rate on the new stockings at this point- not sure if that is good, fair or poor.


We can bitch about poaching until we're blue in the face, but the real problems we should be focusing on are upstream. Put aside the reading glasses and pick up the binoculars.

That guy standing next to you with 3 fish in a bucket will continue doing it somewhere, regardless of the laws, signs and confrontational anglers.

People killing fish one at a time by impaling them with a hook isn't the real problem, it's people killing the rivers themselves and hundreds/thousands of fish at a crack that we need to worry about in the long term.


People come to all of these message boards up in arms over a guy they witnessed with a bass in a bucket.

A spill kills 5,000 fish, and very, very few get out of their chair to take a stand for justice.


When the habitat is destroyed for good, everybody experiences that "one last cast".

I would never go so far as asking to see a fishing license, but I have no problem asking why a given pipe is spilling into the river or what can be done to address the real problems associated with these watersheds.

Only then can we begin to take our rivers back, and the real ass-kicking begins.

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Guest airbornemike

There are a number of large immigrant groups and local red blooded american poachers that have zero respect or understanding of local fishing regulations, I see it every week when I'm on the water.


How do I know? I say hello, how's the fish'n? When they put down there pop can wrapped in mono with a hook at the end and show me there 5gal buckett with everything of every size that swims in the river, I promply use the ISA yellow card. DONE!



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Guest rich mc

i have been told by idnr cpos to just say hey nice fish, walk away and call, do not say put the fish back or ill call the cops . have him pose for the cell phone photo too. rich

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I agree with Mike that the crucial issue is environmental degradation.Having said that one way to lessen poaching is for the limited # of cpos to pay close attention to dam sites such as the Wimington dam.There's usually a concentration of anglers and from what little I've seen it seems that a disproportionate # of dam(n) anglers are violators.

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In PaulT's original story ethnicity wasn't even mentioned. Racist people should keep their mouths shut they only ruin and weaken the arguments for non-ignorant people. There is nothing wrong with asking someone if they have a fishing license as long the person doing so doesn't identify themselves as an authority. I remember the union instituted a policy like that a few years back(operators I think). You could walk up to anyone else on that job site and ask to see their union card, if they didn't have it you could call a BA immediately and have them removed and their employed fined.


Haha more fun to talk about beating up poachers than to take on real issue's like habitat mgmt. You're fighting a losing battle against the capitalist's. It happening all over the country. People with more money get to make the rules, say what you will and I'm sure some folks can point out a few marginal victories but generally speaking that's the way it works. Oh and it generally doesn't favor the conservationists' standpoint.

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In PaulT's original story ethnicity wasn't even mentioned. Racist people should keep their mouths shut they only ruin and weaken the arguments for non-ignorant people.


It is true I did not mention ethnicity. At least 1 of the people in the group was caucasion for what it is worth. It really doesn't matter because poachers come in all shapes, sizes, colors and creeds. I also think in a free country with our freedom of speech we can ask someone a question. They aslo have the freedom of speech to tell you to get bent, but kicking your ass would be a crime.


Again I wasn't advocating anything just telling what I thought was an interesting story. I think Mike hit the nail on the head about what really matters when it comes to making an impact on the resource.


I also wish this guy with all his bravado would direct his energy with a more conservation minded passion instead of just trying to send guys home from his favorite fishing spots. The world does need more people with bravado and passion for things as long as it is directed constructively.

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Jason, you are absolutely right- generally speaking....industry, big business and agriculture are generally going to win many battles. If they didn't, we wouldn't have the problems facing our watersheds today.

The impetus for our green and white conservation signs came from a little research I did and stumbled upon the Riverkeepers out east. The wording on our signs is almost verbatim to what they posted. There are still no other states doing this other than us and them.

That needs to change.


To make a long story short, the commercial fishermen on the Hudson River were tired of trying to stay ahead of the red, green and blue plumes floating in the river and covering their fish as they hauled them in.

This was dependant on what color they were painting the trucks on any given day at the local Ford plant.

They decided to do something about their river's problems and formed the Hudson River Fishermen's Association.


A Sports Illustrated writer named Robert Boyle (fly anglers should know this name) headed the group in 1966, a couple years after he wrote a passionate article in the magazine about the watershed's plight.


In his research, Bob stumbled across two little known laws: the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1888 and the Refuse Act of 1899. These statutes forbade pollution of American waters and provided a bounty reward for whoever reported the violation!


After listening to Boyle with escalating excitement, an American Legion crowd agreed to organize themselves to track down and prosecute the Hudson's polluters one at a time until they were all eliminated. They were as good as their word. Two years later they shut down the Penn Central Pipe and collected $2,000, the first bounty ever awarded under the 19th-century statute. They were soon collecting even larger bounties against Standard Brands, Ciba-Geigy, American Cynamid, Westchester County, Anaconda Wire and Copper and many others. The Fishermen also had joined with Scenic Hudson in a lawsuit to stop Con Edison's proposal to build a hydroelectric facility on Storm King Mountain. It was, in large part, the discovery of a striped bass spawning ground near the project site that ultimately derailed the deal.


The Fishermen used winnings from these cases to build and launch a Riverkeeper boat, which today patrols the Hudson searching out environmental lawbreakers and bringing them to justice. In 1983, they hired their first full-time Riverkeeper, activist and former commercial fisherman John Cronin.


So generally speaking, one person passionate enough about a cause can make a difference.

A group of people with the same concerns and a profound desire can change the face of conservation and win the battles Jason is speaking of.

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Got a half-hour or so to get motivated?

The following video is all you need to get started on your way to making a difference.

From that point, maybe you can help to change the face of conservation.

You don't know until you try...



THE HUDSON RIVERKEEPERS tells the stirring and dramatic story of how two generations of Hudson River fishermen and environmental activists fought a decades-long battle to protect one of the nation's great rivers, the Hudson.


"Beautifully photographed, dramatic ... uses the history of environmental activism on the Hudson to show how individuals can have a real impact on their communities." NEW YORK DAILY NEWS.


Featuring Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.; as well as excerpts from Walter Cronkite's classic 1965 documentary, "The Majestic Polluted Hudson," this important film brings to life one of the great environmental achievements in American history. It is also the story of the one of the landmarks in the U.S. environmental movement -- because the fight to clean up the Hudson River went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and its favorable ruling helped paved the way for many of the great environmental laws passed in the 1970s, such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.

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I'm going to leave one more post here and then shut up for a while.

The whole ethnicity issue is disturbing to me, and I'm not going to waste my efforts reading about it on any website, blog or tabloid.

We all belong to the same race, the human race.


Oh, I certainly understand it will be discussed, I just don't have any desire to waste my time reading it. That's for grandstanders and pundits.

Read any fishing report "forum" in any state you happen to fish and they are there.


Meanwhile, in the real world.....


The need for clean water doesn't distinguish between white, black, yellow or brown.


A gentleman from a predominantly African-American village on the south side called me yesterday because he saw our Adopt-a-Stream information and wants to know what he can do to make a difference in the Little Calumet River.

I'm helping him by passing along the knowledge, tools and skill-sets to organize a community effort to accomplish just that.


When voices for conservation come calling, we don't ask what color their skin happens to be....we embrace the opportunity to bring justice, have clean water to drink, clean air to breathe and the confidence that our efforts will make these things happen.


Hope I didn't drag this too far from the original topic.

It just burns me to see poaching hailed as the very worst detriment to our beloved smallmouth, when there are more important issues to spend time brainstorming on.


Wait....you didn't actually watch the video one post above, did you?

That's alright.

Time is precious.

Your drinking water is still safe.....ask the residents of Crestwood, IL how long it took before they learned theirs wasn't so safe.

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