Archive for Thursday, February 5, 2004

Kill Creek Park set to allow fishing

February 5, 2004

For the past two summers, Marty Fiegel has noticed fishermen staring wistfully at the 28-acre lake at Kill Creek Regional Park.
Since the newest of Johnson County's four regional parks opened in 2002, fishing has been banned to give fish in the newly stocked lake time to mature. It was a decision that puzzled some area fishermen, said park manager Fiegel.
"It was a frequent question we got last year, 'why aren't you open?'" he said. "Everybody sees the catfish feeders go off, and the water boils. They see all the catfish and wonder why there's no fishing."
Anxious fishermen will get their chance this summer.
"We are planning to open it up on June 12," he said. "For the month of June, it will be kids 15 and younger. Then in July, we'll open it to everyone. We just wanted to give kids first crack at it."
A healthy catfish population was a stimulus to opening the lake to fishing, Fiegel said.
"Most of the black bass are not going to be of legal length," he said. "By opening with the catfish, we hope that will speed it (bass growth) up a little bit. They're about a year or two away from getting there."
Strict creel limits would be enforced on the still young fish population -- even the catfish, Fiegel said.
"We want them to catch them; we don't what them to slaughter them," he said.
Creel limits for the different species are:
Catfish, two a day of 15 inches or longer.
Black bass, walleye and wipers, two a day of 18 inches or longer.
Crappie and pan fish, 50 a day with no length limit.
"We're going to be pretty restrictive," he said. "We want people to get used to the lake and used to the regulations. Nothing says you can't come out and do a lot of catch and release."
Fishing at the lake would require both a state and park district license, Fiegel said. He had talked to local businesses about selling the park district licenses because the park's marina is open only three days a week.
Fishing won't be the only thing new at the park, Fiegel said. A prairie observation deck, a project put on hold last year, ,was now slated for construction this year. The shaded structure would be near the parking lot, he said.
"With the shade, people can spend more time," he said. "It will be a great place to try and get away from it all and look at the wildflowers in bloom."
The park had been pretty quiet with the onslaught of frigid temperatures, Fiegel said. Few noticed when the gates were closed early this week because of hazardous roads -- the park district doesn't use salt or chemicals on the roads.
It appeared as the lake would be open to ice skating. Park district regulations required a consistent layer of ice six-inches deep before the activity was allowed.

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