Removing fish will prepare for water project

People who like to fish will be allowed to reel in as many as they can catch from the pond in Armstrong Park over the next few days in preparation for a water quality restoration project.

The fishing bonanza began Thursday and will continue until contractors begin pumping the water out of the pond on Monday.

During that time period anyone with a valid fishing license can catch an unlimited amount of fish, according to City Engineer Tony Trotter. There will be no daily bag limit or minimum length restrictions.

”All the fish that are in that pond are going to die so the more we can harvest, the better,” Trotter said.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has given this type of wide open harvest of fish the unlikely name of promiscuous fishing.

The department does have some rules on promiscuous fishing. There will be some obvious limits on how the fish can be caught. Dynamite, poison and electroshocking devices are prohibited. Fish removed from the pond cannot be taken to any other public body of water or stream.

Just how many fish are there and what species they are isn’t certain, but Trotter said the pond had been stocked with bluegill and bullheads in the past.

The fish have to go because the water will be pumped out in the first phase of a project intended to make the pond near Exposition Drive and North Seventh Street an even more inviting body of water in the future.

A new sedimentation pool will be created between the pond and the Lions Den building. All the stormwater that now flows into the pond will be channeled into that pool, where dirt and debris will settle to the bottom. Cleaner water will then flow into the pond.

When the project is done, the pond will be a little bit smaller and deeper.

The work includes excavating, installing new storm sewers, installing interlocking pavers that water can seep through, pavement patching and erosion control. The entrance to the park that is closest to North Seventh Street will be closed, leaving the park with one entrance.

In April, the City Council hired Crow River Construction, of New London, Minnesota, to do the work at a cost of $423,355.50.

While the company has until Nov. 1 to finish the job, Trotter said he thinks the work will be done by the end of July.


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