News Cast February 29th:

Florida Fish and wildlife officers conducted an operation to check on crappie fishermen on Lake Okeechobee.

They received complaints about vessels interfering with navigation and boats not having the proper navigation lights.

Lt. Amy Hayes is law enforcement supervisor over the lake. She said light issues are not uncommon but it not the number one complaint they receive.

The most common violation is taking over the bag limit and keeping undersize fish.

Lt. Hayes said it has been a good fishery this year.

“I feel this season has been very good to the fishermen. A lot of guys are catching their limits every time they go out within just a couple of hours. We have been seeing some big fish and some record fish caught on the lake this year.”

In one night the FWC inspected 27 vessels and 835 black crappie for compliance. The officers issued 8 citations and issued 19 warnings to fishermen and boaters.

“Your speck has to be over 10 inches in length and you can have no more than 25 per day. We encourage all fishermen to have a measuring device with them so they can measure them on the lake. Keep a good tally of your fish to make sure you have no more than 25.”

They also have a hotline for those that witness violations.

Rewards are also given out of up to $1,000 depending on the violation.

To report violations you can call 1-888-404-FWCC.

A man using an electric bike got stranded in a remote part of the Kissimmee Prairie State Park in Okeechobee.

The bike’s battery became drained, stranding the individual on a remote trail. After communicating with the subject, the state wildlife officers set out on a side-by-side to locate him and found him after a couple of hours.

He was transported back to the park office and did not need medical treatment.

Two boaters were stranded on lake Okeechobee when their boat sank. FWC officers were able to reach the men and return them to shore and treat them for cold and dampness. The location was not available.

The governor still has concerns over a bill to ban those under 16 from using certain social media platforms.

The legislature supported the bill by a large margin, 108-7 in the house and 23-14 in the senate.

Democratic House member Michele Rayner said something must be done and this will save lives.

“This is the moment that the state of Florida in a bi-partisan fashion is taking a stand and saying we will not allow you to build your companies on the back of our children, and we will defend our children.”

The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Erin Grall who represents Highlands, Okeechobee, and Glades County.

Glades County took no action on a request from the State Department of Transportation that they maintain the new bridge over Harney Pond on the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail.