Two Clinton County men are facing charges for poaching trout and salmon from the Saranac River in the City of Plattsburgh, Clinton County, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Bob Stegemann announced today.

“This type of illegal activity threatens the increasing salmon population and reduces fishing opportunities for lawful anglers,” Regional Director Stegemann said. “DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) will continue their efforts to seek out and arrest poachers to put an end to these illegal practices. Protection of New York State’s fish and wildlife resources is an important mission for DEC.”

Rich Redman, President of the Lake Champlain Chapter of Trout Unlimited said, "This is great news for every law-abiding angler in the North Country. It's great to see the salmon back, and DEC protecting them.”

ECOs arrested 38-year-old Joshua Todd and 34-year-old Christopher J. Dumas, both of Plattsburgh, N.Y., on Tuesday, December 15, 2015. The two men allegedly used an illegal fishing technique known as “snagging” to poach the fish. It involves dragging a weighted hook through the water until it gets embedded into the body of the fish. The men are charged with taking fish by means other than angling and Mr. Dumas is also charged with fishing without a license.

“When salmon and brown trout come into rivers to spawn it is often in shallow areas where they can be seen – sometimes even with their backs and dorsal fins breaking the water’s surface,” said DEC Region 5 Fisheries Manager Lance Durfey. “This makes them vulnerable to illegal fishing techniques.”

The Saranac River is one of ten New York and Vermont tributaries to Lake Champlain, which historically had native runs of Atlantic salmon. They vanished from Champlain by the mid- 1800’s and, until the 1950’s, periodic restoration attempts failed. Encouraging results from some of the stream stocking of young salmon in the 1950’s led to full scale salmon restoration work in the Boquet River in 1973. Efforts to control Sea Lamprey in 1990 further enhanced trout and salmon populations.

A primary indicator of strengthening salmon populations is annual spawning runs. DEC staff observed good fall runs in the Ausable River, Boquet River and especially the Saranac River. It’s a great sign for these fish populations, the health of Lake Champlain, anglers, and the economic health of local communities that see the benefit from improved fishing opportunities.

Todd and Dumas are scheduled to appear in the City of Plattsburgh Local Criminal Court on Tuesday, January 5, 2016. They both face fines.

For more information on fishing regulations please refer to the freshwater fishing guide.