CONSTANTIA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Walleye season starts May 1 at Scriba Creek, but some aren’t waiting to get fishing.

NewsChannel 9 received plenty of emails and messages expressing worry about the walleye population in Scriba Creek in Constantia.

Every April and early May, walleyes naturally reproduce in the waters. Tim and Jim Harris spend a good portion of their springtime around the creek and are concerned about some individuals who have ignored the fishing laws of New York to come spearfishing.

“We have Native Americans coming from Canada down here to spear the fish, and they’ve taken way over limit — which the season is closed, so there is no limit. It’s illegal,” said Jim Harris.

Tim Harris also expressed worries about the actions, saying that it might set a poor example for young folks about the way fishing works and the laws involved.

“You have families with kids that are getting the wrong idea of how they’re supposed to do things. We’re raising future generations to teach them right and wrong. When this is closed, it should be closed to everybody,” said Tim Harris.

According to Jim Harris, not only is the fishing method currently illegal, but it’s also a danger to the ecosystem. He says that by wading around the creek, the fishers are crushing the walleye eggs, killing future fish. Tim Harris added, “You might not see an immediate effect, but if they keep doing it year after year after year — I mean, the spearing’s now, future might be netting, running nightlines across. We don’t know what’s going to come.”

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation released a statement about the fishing, which you can read below.

This past week, DEC staff and Environmental Conservation Police Officers responded to events involving people fishing for walleye at DEC’s Oneida Fish Hatchery and nearby Scriba Creek during the walleye spawning run.

DEC takes seriously our responsibility to enforce New York’s environmental laws, ensure protection, conservation, and sustainable management of fish and wildlife, and values our partnerships with Indigenous Nations and the angling community to sustainably manage these resources. To protect this resource, New York State Environmental Conservation Law prohibits walleye fishing from March 15 until May 1. During this time, walleye are concentrated in certain streams and vulnerable to over-harvest. Similarly, Indigenous Nations have their own teachings regarding sustainable harvest practices, and we share mutual concerns in preserving wildlife.

DEC recognizes the importance of walleye as a subsistence and cultural resource for Indigenous Nations, and is actively consulting with the leadership of the nine State-Recognized Indigenous Nations to advance our shared conservation objectives.