When it was proposed by Fish & Wildlife that the in-season closure on the Black River in Hacklebarney State Park be dropped, there were a few snickers that suggested that conservation officers were just tired of making the half-mile hike from the parking area down the stream to check for violators... folks fishing before the 5 p.m. start on stocking days.
"Nothing is further from the truth," said Lisa Barno in an e-mail. Barno is Chief of the Bureau of Fisheries.
She added, "two years ago CO's asked if we had ever looked into in-season closures - and admittedly it had been a number of years since in-season closures had been discussed. Their request was based on that when given the option Conservation Officers do prefer to maximize dtheir positive public reaction by patrolling when anglers are fishing as opposed to enforcing a closure, thus by design, limiting public interaction and preventing anglers from fishing - which seems contrary to the intent of stocking.
There are 16 waters, including Black River, closed from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on stocking days.
Barno said when looking over the list "we kept coming back to the Black River as it is less utilized than the other 15 waters with in-season closures and also because access was a good half-mile from the stream."
She added the later situation complicates the enforcement of the closure (delayed response to calls concering illegal fishing, additional time to patrol) that "it seemed one to consider for potential removal."
Again, this is a proposal. There will be a public comment period in late summer/early fall before the Fish & Game Council votes on proposed changes.