This January, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission assigned a new Waterways Conservation Officer to Wyoming County and surrounding areas.
David Raulfs Jr., a Doylestown native who now makes Tunkhannock his home, covers a territory comprised of all of Wyoming County; Auburn, Lathrop, and Springville townships in Susquehanna County; and Newton and Ransom townships in Lackawanna County.
“This really is my dream job,” said Raulfs. “It is a job I always wanted to do. You have to take a test to get into the program, and fortunately I scored well.”
He continued, “I specifically chose this district, because the fishing is so good here. There are some ‘die-hards’ out here. They know their stuff, and are so passionate. In my opinion, this is one of the best areas in the state for fishing. It isn’t a one dimensional location, the area offers so much to the people.”
He takes over this region from WCO John Cummings, who is still around.
“I am here to work this district; to lighten WCO Cumming’s load. I am relieving his stocking duties and responding to calls in this area,” he said.
Raulfs, who has a criminal justice degree from Lock Haven University, said the process from testing into the PFBC program to being assigned takes almost two full years.
According to Raulfs, the duties of a WCO vary from season to season.
In the spring, he his responsible for overseeing stocking streams with trout. He monitors the process and makes sure that the fish are spread throughout all of the local streams and waterways.
He also has to enforce all PFBC regulations, including being properly licensed, and and he watches for environmental pollution and disturbances.
In the summer, most of WCO Raulfs’ time is spent on enforcing boating laws, and encouraging safety on all of the region’s waterways.
Autumn brings more fish stocking, with different species for the fall season, and again watching out for violations in the fishing communities.
Ice fishing has its own set of rules and regulations, and Raulfs is on top of that in the winter.
“There is enough to keep me busy all year long,” he said.
WCO Raulfs thinks that the Keystone Select Trophy Trout on the South Branch of the Tunkhannock Creek could offer a local hotspot for anglers this season. This fishing hole has special regulations, and uses only artificial lures, with a delayed harvesting period.
He is looking forward to a good trout season, that opens this Saturday, April 13, and noted, “A lot of the streams are stocked and ready. The results will be weather related, and I have checked the water levels locally-they are outstanding.”
“It isn’t like last year, we are more stable with our weather, as of now, it looks like we
are in for a very good year,” Raulfs added.