APPLETON – The pond at Appleton Memorial Park will soon be restored with catchable trout while a special season for youth and disabled anglers is underway.
Fisheries staff with the Department of Natural Resources plans to stock the pond Tuesday afternoon with 1,000 rainbow trout from the Nevin Fish Hatchery. These fish will average 9 inches in length.
The pond is designated as an urban fishing water, and has a special season for youth and disabled anglers. Under these rules only juveniles ages 15 and younger and disabled anglers can fish from March 10 through April 27. Juveniles 15 and younger do not require a fishing license. Disabled anglers aged 16 and older need a disabled fishing license and an inland trout stamp. The daily bag limit is three trout of any size. Starting April 28 anyone can fish the pond. Anglers aged 16 and older will need a fishing license and an inland trout stamp. The bag limit remains the same.
“It will be nice to have some fish in there that aren't carp that people can catch,” said Kabel Helmbrecht, an official with Appleton Parks and Recreation.
In recent years fishing at the pond had deteriorated. Carp had appeared in the pond. How they got there is unknown. The bottom-feeding carp reproduced, dislodged aquatic plants, roiled sediments and increased turbidity. Habitat for desirable species – trout, panfish and bass – declined and their numbers dropped as carp became dominant.
This past December the DNR, in cooperation with the City of Appleton, treated the 4.7-acre pond with rotenone, a naturally occurring substance derived from the roots of tropical plants in the bean family. The rotenone killed all fish in the pond, almost entirely carp, while posing no danger to people, birds or mammals. The substance degraded rapidly, leaving no toxicity behind, a fact confirmed by subsequent tests.
Now it's time to rebuild the fishery. Going forward, trout will be stocked each spring in time for the special season for youth and disabled anglers. In addition, under DNR guidance and permits, the city will stock the pond later this year, first with minnows, and then with game fish species, such as bass and panfish, to create a self-sustaining fishery in years to come.
In addition, the city, which had drawn down the pond prior to the rotenone treatment, took advantage of the temporarily low water.
“We made some improvements to the pond itself,” Helmbrecht said. “We took the opportunity to make repairs and renovations to our fishing pier as well as create new fish habitat and cover by placing trees on the pond basin that was otherwise inaccessible”.