Knives Saving Lives: Michigan Conservation Officers rescue woman entangled in fishing lines

Michigan Knife Rescue

Michigan Conservation Officer Samuel Koscinski

Michigan Conservation Officers were in the right place at the right time when they came upon a woman clinging to a log in the fast moving Manistee River. She had been swimming with friends when she became overcome by the current, and was seen by CO Sam Koscinski and CO Scott MacNeill during a routine riverine patrol. She was clinging to a log and was entangled in fishing hooks and lines, barely keeping her head above the fast moving water.


Battling the river current, Koscinski controlled the DNR boat as it fought additional current created from water hitting Aldridge’s body. He then positioned the boat to provide Aldridge support while MacNeill reached over the bow to temporarily secure Aldridge in a lifejacket.

MacNeill cut the fish lines attached to the hooks in Aldridge’s arm. When Aldridge broke free from the original lines, Koscinski maintained the boat to protect Aldridge from the strong current. Holding onto the boat, Aldridge’s legs became tangled in additional hooks and lines – the force of her body causing the bow of the boat to drop further into the water.

Officer Koscinski controlled the boat while MacNeill held Aldridge, and provided her a knife to free her legs from the lines. In a state of shock, Aldridge was pulled into the boat where she was able to recover.

As a professional flyfishing guide, I have had a great many interactions with wildlife officers in a half-dozen states. Virtually all of them are consummate professionals, and care deeply for the resources they are charged with protecting. Most are pretty good folks, being fishermen and hunters themselves. The relationship between responsible sportsmen and wildlife officials is critical in the fight against poaching.

I am not the least bit surprised to hear a tale of heroism from among their ranks. Law enforcement personnel have no legal duty to risk their lives to protect you. However, the overwhelming majority gladly will, and are to be lauded for it.






  1. Sounds like those Conservation guys did a very heroic rescue. What a nightmare with tangled fishing lines and loose hooks, eesh! Doesn’t sound like very responsible angling. In those situations a knife needs to be a one-hand opener, quick and sharp. As a ski patroller in Colorado, I had a similar Incident with the chairlift at top ramp. I had a seven year old boy in my left hand whose hood drawstring was caught on the chair, not around his neck, but pulling his parka up, slowly strangling him. I was able to lift “Billy” up, get out my one handed lockback and cut him loose with my right hand. It still lives in my first aid belt.

  2. Joel Coffman says:

    H. Clay, I’ve not seen anything new for over a week. Maybe webbugs? I’m on Android on Kindle. Hope all is well with you, and yours.

    1. cmeat says:

      it’s all your fault, joel. if only you had posted to the comments section more often.
      or perhaps there is a conspiracy afoot to silence me.

  3. dph says:

    Is TTAK still in business? I haven’t seen any new content for awhile. Hope all is well as I really enjoy this site.

  4. stuartb says:

    Last week Clay posted a “so long and thanks for all the fish” image to Instagram, so it’s not looking good. Sad end to a great run.

  5. dph says:

    H. Clay AAlders, former managing editor. Dammit. Mr Aalders, I wish you good luck in all of your endeavors.

  6. stuartb says:

    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper

  7. cmeat says:

    wide open spaces need wide open profit margins.
    diluting one brand while extinguishing another.
    the vision is complete.

  8. Chris Dumm says:

    My name is Chris Dumm, and I was the founding editor here at TTAK. After a few years at the helm here, my private law practice really took off and I handed the reins to the best writer and smartest, most passionate knife guy I know, Clay Aalders. (And yes, I always love to mix my metaphors.)

    I chose wisely, and I’m very proud of the good work that Clay has done here in the last 4+ years.

    The wealth of knife news, reviews, politics and industry insight to be found here at TTAK makes me very sad when I confirm that The Truth About Knives is now a zombie website. There is no staff (Clay was unceremoniously fired) and there is no new content in the works that I know of.

    I want everyone to know that Clay had nothing to do with this. (And neither did I, but that’s beside the point.) TTAK’s new media owners (who also purchased both The Truth About Guns, which remains an excellent website) counted their beans, and I guess they decided that our little experiment in telling the simple truth about knives just wasn’t bringing in enough ducats to keep their pockets stuffed. So they shut the doors, but at least they left the lights on. For now.

    This is a great shame and a great waste of talent, both Clay’s and yours. I’ve followed this site ever since I gave Clay the passwords, and the quality of work and writing has only continued to increase. As has the interest and devotion of our readers. You.

    I’m glad the new owners have left the site up, even in its undead state, because I’m proud of what I helped to start and I know it still has value.

    I thank you all for reading The Truth About Knives. Without you this experiment would have sputtered out years ago.

    TTAK might be gone, but I suspect that we haven’t heard the last from Clay Aalders. Keep an eye out for him on Twitter; I’m sure he’ll turn up soon, doing more great work.

    Thanks, farewell and God bless,

    Chris Dumm
    Founding Editor
    The Truth About Knives

    1. stuartb says:

      Chris, thanks for the update, however bleak. I’ve followed TTAK from the start, learning so much from yourself, Clay, David and all the other contributors. It’s been a great forum too, thanks sam,cmeat and the rest for their insight and humor. Hopefully we’ll all convene in another place, until then, all the best!

  9. Sam L. says:

    Well, DANG. Hadn’t been looking at the comments. I am bummed. Best of fortune to Clay!

  10. Max Blancke says:

    I personally turned an outrigger canoe over well offshore in fairly brisk winds, and had my ankle tangled in a line attached to the boat. I would not have been able to keep my head above water had I not had a sharp knife attached to my lifejacket, in a place that I could easily reach.
    Never be without a knife. Just don’t.

  11. Sam says:

    Quite heroic of them, although it doesn’t sound like Hollywood would be satisfied to leave the scene as it is. He “handed her a knife to cut the fishing lines off”? No, no, that’s not dramatic and heroic enough! They’d need to re-write the scene so he has to dive into the water and cut the lines, while she is slowly drowning with her (very pretty of course) head just below water, while the sidekick steers the boat. In an alligator filled river. While drifint closer and closer to the giant waterfall just downriver (of course he cuts her free just in the nick of time and somehow they are suddenly both on the boat and the sidekick guns the outboard and pulls them away from the very brink of the waterfall (the first kiss follows shortly after).
    No, real life is a little more mundane, but even more heart-pounding for those who were there. That must have been a very intense situation, and not the sort of thing these guys are used to doing every day. They did quite well, under the circumstances. I’m just glad that she didn’t drop the knife; it could have easily happened. I hope they each had at least two on them (and here is a great illustration of why you should never even go swimming without a blade of some sort on you!)

  12. Arjun Satyal says:

    I haven’t seen any new content for a while. I hope all is well as I really enjoy this site. thank u.

  13. Charlyne23 says:

    If you’re tired of looking for “academic helpers ”, here’s a solution for you! This site!

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Knives Saving Lives: Michigan Conservation Officers rescue woman entangled in fishing lines

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