The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Division of Law Enforcement Weekly Report from June 23 - June 29 includes incidents in the Lake Okeechobee area.
• Officer Hudson was patrolling when he observed a subject fishing in freshwater by the old sportsman canal boat ramp from a vessel with an expired registration. The officer waited until the subject came to the boat ramp and then conducted a resource inspection. The subject was found to be in possession of seven undersized crappie. The subject had several prior charges from the FWC and was issued a notice to appear citation for undersized crappie in addition to six warnings for boating safety and traffic violations.
• Officer Dziewiatkowski, Officer Tarr, and Officer Pridgen were conducting surveillance at Dinner Island Ranch Wildlife Management Area during a night hunting task force operation when they observed a vehicle traveling slowly, making frequent stops, and displaying multiple lights capable of disclosing the location of wildlife. The officers conducted a traffic stop and upon inspection, a crossbow and multiple spotlights were discovered. The subjects were issued notices to appear in court for the violations.
• Officer Harris responded to a subject harvesting softshell turtles. The violation occurred on the canal adjacent to U.S. Hwy. 27, on the outskirts of South Bay. Upon contact, Officer Harris observed the subject was in possession of seven live softshell turtles, hidden within rice sacks. In addition, Officer Harris found 13 unmarked bush hooks, salt pork, and more rice sacks. The subject informed Officer Harris of 18 more bush hooks that were being fished in the immediate area. With the assistance of Officer James Riggs, all 18 remaining bush hooks were located and photographed. The subject was charged for violating Executive Order 21-19 and unmarked bush hooks.
• Officer Hudson was patrolling Lake Okeechobee when he observed a commercial charter bow fishing vessel with several occupants on board. The vessel was stopped, and numerous commercial safety equipment violations were detected including not having child life jackets for the children on board. The charter captains were cited for 15 violations.
• Officers Padgett and Officer Allen observed a group of men next to the Nubbins Slough structure in Lake Okeechobee. Two of them were involved in using a cast net. An inspection revealed the subjects had caught several game fish, eight black crappie and a bluegill with the net. Only nongame fish may be taken with a cast net in freshwater. The two subjects were given notices to appear in court for the violation.
• Officer Specialist Allen was patrolling the Paradise Run area when he observed a subject trespassing and fishing on the S-84 South Florida Water Management District structure. The subject walked by two “No Trespassing” signs and a “No Fishing” sign when entering onto the structure. He was issued a notice to appear in court for the violation.