ECOs observed three men catching and keeping black bass out of season in Ulster County.

On April 26, ECO Jason Smith was on patrol at the Ashokan Reservoir when he observed three men fishing from a rowboat without wearing personal floatation devices. the officer walked the shoreline and observed all three men catch and keep smallmouth bass.

Officer Smith contacted ECO Lucas Palmateer for assistance and the officers observed more bass being caught and placed on a long stringer outside the boat.

As darkness fell, the officer made their waty out of thew woods and located the vehicles associated with the anglers. Inside one of the vehicles, which was registered to a retail fish market in Brooklyn, the officers found a large cooler.

When the three men returned to their vehicles, they told officers they had been targeting sunfish but didn't keep any. The officers did not locate any fish with the men nor on their boat, but eventually located a 15-foot long stringer tied to a rock several feet offshore.

A total of 35 smallmouth bass were alive on the stringer, the same stringer tied to the boat earlier in the day.

The men were issued a total of 13 tickets for failing to wear a PFD, trespassing, fishing without a license, taking black bass out of season, and illegally taking black bass for commercial sale. All three men also had their NYC Department of Environmental Protection access permits for the reservoir revoked and their boat permit revoked.

The 35 smallmouth bass were successfully released back into the water.

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