Quick thinking NYSDEC officer catches anglers trying to cheat at fishing derby


Encon Officer Brian Canzeri says it all happened while responding to a late night call regarding a motorboat at the Tomhannock Reservoir in Rensselaer County. 

He knew something was “fishy” right away. The reservoir is the fresh water supply for Troy and the surrounding area. Motorboats are not allowed.

His cellphone camera captured the boat with four men and a dog coming ashore. He says the group from the Syracuse area told him they were here taking part in a nearby bow-fishing derby.

Canzeri handed out tickets for illegal boating on a reservoir, failure to have proper reservoir permits, and taking fish contrary to restrictions. He and also made sure to measure, weigh, and photograph two carp in their possession. One was a whopper at 31 pounds! That’s when he told them the really bad news.

“I told them it would be illegal to enter the fish in the fishing derby.”

Officer Canzeri says the fish were already dead, so he directed the anglers to properly dispose of the fish. But, he was still a bit suspicious that they may not take his direction.

He knew the “Spring Fling Bowfishing Tournament” was happening on Saratoga Lake. So, he contacted the organizers and some fellow conservation officers telling them to be on the lookout for the four fishermen.

And sure enough, they showed up.

“They already weighed in their fish. That was the fish from the reservoir, which they admitted to. They would have taken First Place for $3,000, but unfortunately, they had to be disqualified,” said Canzeri.

They had been caught hook, like and sinker. When asked what the moral of this story was, Canzeri said, “Cheaters never win.”

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