Rookie Game Warden
Rookie Game Warden
As I'm sure most of you have noticed, I'm often stressing caution about fishing within the Odfw rules & regs. I have good reasons!:lol:
I once had a game warden on the Alsea issue me a ticket for "attempting to foul-hook salmon", 20 some years ago.. I discovered the water was so full of coho that if you just threw even a bare hook the fish would bump into it, get tangled up in the line and so forth that I ended throwing back lots of coho as they were not hooked in the mouth. I had one coho on a heavy stringer in the water which had swallowed my hook.
Well, I kept catching and releasing these coho that would hook themselves in various parts of their anatomy. I landed a nice big coho which was hooked inside the mouth, and secured it, tagged it and made ready to depart. As I started to walk up the bank I heard branches breaking and a slight bit of cussing coming from across the water. A Game Warden in camo slipped down the opposite bank and fell into the water, to his knees. I was astonished at this sight, of course.:shock: I asked if he needed help and he muttered no. He made his way across to me, asked for my license, tags, inspected my catch and so on. Finally he pulled out his dampened ticket book and wrote me a ticket for "attempting to foul-hook salmon". He let me keep my fish as he had watched me for hours catching and releasing the fish and knew I had only kept the ones legally hooked.
Turned out it was a phony ticket for 400 some odd dollars! The day I was to appear in court was Election Day, and when I realized this I confirmed with the courthouse that indeed they had no court that day. So I was off the hook.:dance: Oh! Was that a pun?:lol:
So I learned a lesson that day: it's best to follow the rules and regs because the government has the people with the guns. Too many people with too many guns!
A few years before that happened a friend of mine and I were up at Big Cliff Reservoir. Back then the lakes and reservoirs closed to trout fishing on October 31st. So my friend and I decided to go fishing on that last day of October there at Big Cliff. What we didn't know was that it was indeed November 1st. Uh oh. Well........my friend and I were trying to decide where to fish. We didn't know a rookie Game Warden who hadn't yet been issued a pickup truck was up above us on the shoulder of Hwy. 22 watching us through binoculars. My friend told me he had to take a nature call of the #2 variety, and since the Odfw had not yet ever put a porta pottie by the boat ramp there at Big Cliff, off he went up the hill to make like a bear in the woods. I told him to make sure he got at least 100 feet away from the water as the regs forbid doing that kind of business within 100 feet of a stream or waterbody. Which I think makes good sense. Since 100 feet happened to be a little ways up the mountainside, my friend had a good hike to get far enough away. He did his thing and returned. Shortly after that the rookie Warden pulled up behind us. He asked us what we were up to. I said we planned on fishing there on this the last day of the open trout season on that lake. He smiled and informed us that it was November the first, the first day of the closed season.
I said you are sure? He said yes. So I said I guess we weren't going to fish then. The Warden smiled even more and wrote both of us a ticket for "intent to fish a closed water". I complained about that, saying we had not even got our lines wet, yet. He said he understood that, hence the "intent" wording.
This really struck me and my friend as unfair. The rookie said ignorance of the law is no excuse. I said we had made an honest mistake. He then asked my friend what he had done up the hillside in the bushes a short time before. Doug just shrugged, not commenting. I couldn't resist saying to the rookie, "Well, officer, if you think Doug has done something wrong up yonder, I suppose you could climb up there and collect any evidence?"
He didn't much care for my comment so he told us to scram. We scrammed and later at the Stayton Court I pled no contest with an explanation. The Judge heard me out and reduced my fine from 92 bucks down to 32. My friend Doug decided to fight his ticket and ended up having to pay the whole fine.
So I learned a lesson that day and a few years later:the people with the guns make the rules. When they outnumber us 1000 to one it's best to play along.