The fall return of Chinook to the harbors along the Illinois shores of Lake Michigan has been more consistent and a little better than many of us expected. With that came more reports than usual of illegal snagging.
‘‘From a Chicagoland perspective, this time of year brings upon the challenges to catch those persons involved in the unlawful snagging activities,’’ emailed Sgt. Jed Whitchurch of the Illinois Conservation Police.
This affects all of us because Whitchurch shifts CPOs to many late-night and early-morning shifts to target illegal snagging. That includes covert operations.
Listen, I am not a fan of snagging because I think it tarnishes the image of the fishing community. But on an ethical level, snagging uses a resource (salmon returning in a mimic of spawning rituals and dying) that otherwise would be wasted.
What really angers me is that the regulations have been the same for years. Not knowing is not an excuse.
Snagging season opened Sunday. The daily bag for snaggers is five Chinook and/or coho. There’s no snagging within 200 feet of moored boats.
Most important, the only legal spots to snag salmon are at the inner and outer harbors of Jackson Park, the Lincoln Park Lagoon south of Fullerton, the discharge area of the Winnetka power plant and the north basin of Waukegan Harbor.
So I feel the anger of regular contributor Howard Bass, who got into an intense confrontation with an illegal snagger out a week before snagging opened and at Belmont Harbor, which isn’t even open to snagging.
In that regard, Whitchurch strongly recommended: ‘‘Do not confront the violator. At many locations, there is obviously water nearby. Therefore, safety first. We want all of the Illinois sportsmen and sportswomen to enjoy the outdoor recreational process. No conflict is needed. Contact the authorities and let us perform our duties.’’
The best way is by calling the Illinois State Police District Chicago at (847) 294-4400. Give a location and description of the violation. You also can call the Target Illinois Poachers (TIP) hotline at (1-877) 2DNRLAW.
This is a fishing-community issue as much as a law-enforcement one. Ultimately, it comes down to each of us doing our part.
Youth firearm deer season is Saturday through Monday, a note for both youth hunters and for bowhunters in counties with youth hunting. . . . Corn harvest statewide was 21 percent by Sunday, compared with 40 percent last year; beans were at 30 percent, compared with 15 percent last year. . . . As of last week, the IDNR had official reports of 26 suspected cases of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD). With the dryness of the last two months, there will be more EHD reports (many cases go unreported). If you suspect a deer with EHD, contact your wildlife biologist or Doug Dufford at (815) 369-2414 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A map of formally reported suspected cases is at tinyurl.com/CSTdeaddeer.
Mitch Trubisky is like 5 a.m. Nov. 17. Mike Glennon was like 5 p.m. Dec. 4, 2016.
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