DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Two moments captured at White Rock Lake left a Dallas photographer astonished and outraged.
Ben Sandifer said he could not believe his eyes and managed to recently capture images of a Bald Eagle at the lake.
“I always worry that before I can get my camera out, the bird will fly out,” said Sandifer. “It’s so rare to see one, especially here in Dallas.”
But as Sandifer turned his lens towards the spillway, his heart sank.
“It was a group of people that were driving fish up against the rocks,” said Sandifer. “Corralling them, herding them up like aquatic cowboys.”
Sandifer said the group snuck past the fences at the lake and used nets to capture fish and turtles.
“Not only were they stealing off of the eagle’s dinner plate, they were stealing from all of us as citizens of Dallas,” said Sandifer.
According to Dallas city code, it is not only illegal to fish from bridges and spillways, but Texas Game Wardens feel it is incredibly dangerous.
“Some people are doing it because they know it’s against the law but they also know that there’s good fishing in there,” said Officer Joshua Bonney. “In other cases it may just be a language barrier.”
Bonney said as an avid hunter and fisherman, the images frustrate him.
“Whenever I see something like that, it does make me mad,” said Bonney. “Everyone is a assigned a set of rules that they have to follow. It makes it fair for everybody. And obviously when people are trying to get into a restricted area, then that gives them an unfair advantage.”
Bonney said folks can use nets to catch bait fish like minnows. He said a fishing license as well as a hunting license is required to capture turtles. But those activities are not allowed in restricted areas.
“If you see something down in that spillway that’s on two feet, report it,” said Sandifer. “I wish they would quit before they’re caught. I think that their time as recreational fishermen along the spillway is quickly going to come to an end I hope.”
Dallas police said while fishing violations are usually handled by Texas Game Wardens, trespassing is a city issue. Anyone who thinks they notice illegal activity should call 911.