Outside the visitor center is a good sized pond. Technically it's part of the golf course, but for the past several years, it has doubled as a community fishing pond. Since I have been here (six years), it's held trout, stocked by the Division of Wildlife, and the community gathers by the droves to fish it.
We encourage it to be a kids fishing pond, and hold a few events during the year to promote youth fishing. Our "Pathways to Fishing" program is held on one day each year, generally on Free Fishing day. We have also organized a Youth Fishing Club that for the past three years has been very successful.
People love the pond. They love to feed the ducks. They love to fish. But the pond is old, and being next to a golf course, it is moving through succession stages rather quickly because of all the nutrients that ultimately end up there. The vegetation is literally taking over, and by mid-summer there is so much submergent plant life in the pond that most fishermen catch and reel in an entire salad more often than they catch fish. It needs to be dredged. And that is our hope this winter.
We drained the pond early this week, hoping to give the water-logged soil time to drain, and harden up some, so we can get a track hoe in later this year to start the enormous process of removing excess accumulation. I can't imagine the stink, literally, that will create. There are decades of dead and decomposing matter at the bottom of that pond; the soil is nearly black. Even sitting there, empty, the potent smell is escaping.
The ducks seem to like it okay. They now have access to the bottom of the barrel, so to speak, and they enjoy it. However, when the temps drop more, and that little bit of standing water freezes, they will have to make their way across the street to the ever flowing hot springs and other open water in the area.
But I am looking forward to this little project. I am confident that what ever we are able to accomplish, will make a difference to the quality of this little community fishing pond.
We may even switch out the trout for yellow perch. They do much better in small ponds.