Busy city pond is sign of times

Kim Fundingsland/MDN Emily Hunt and Charles Andrade spend some quality time outdoors at the Fairgrounds fishing pond in Minot Monday afternoon. Usage at the pond has increased this summer as people look for activities compatible with social distance due to coronavirus concerns.

The water from the fountain glistens in the sunlight. On the water below a red and white bobber makes rings in the water as a fish tugs on the line. And it’s all within the city limits of Minot. Urban fishing at its finest.

“It’s a good way to get out of the house, and it’s accessible for him since he’s in a wheelchair. That’s so nice,” said Emily Hunt, KALIX of Minot.

Charles Andrade had a broad smile on his face while watching the bobber hop on the water’s surface.

“I really enjoy it,” said Andrade. “It’s good.”

“But the fish have been getting a little more finicky,” laughed Hunt.

Usage at the pond located in the Conservation and Skills Park at the State Fairgrounds usually is very high during the North Dakota State Fair, but this year’s fair was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, even without the usual crowd of fairgoers, the pond was stocked earlier this year with a variety of fish.

“We put bluegill and perch in here right away,” said Greg Gullickson, Game and Fish Department outreach biologist. “And we did our regular trout stocking. Hats off to our fisheries crew. They really did a great job.”

A very large fishing pier allows fishermen comfortable access to the pond and this summer it is accommodating many more visitors than usual.

“I’ve seen three to four times the amount of people fishing out here than we normally get,” said Gullickson. “There’s definitely been an uptick in the number of people recreating here. People are leaning how to social distance and the outdoors is certainly a great place to do that.”

Additionally, said Gullickson, a few changes in the operation of the pond have been implemented. In the past the pond has been catch-and-release only and closed to fishing during the winter. No longer. A different set of guidelines was recently adopted for the benefit of urban anglers.

“Generally we don’t have good winter survival in the pond,” explained Gullickson. “So now, rather than closing in the wintertime, we will remain open year-round. It is catch-and-release only from April until August 1. Right now you can actually keep the fish.”

Gullickson said fisheries crews will re-stock the pond again next spring and have catchable fish ready for the 2021 edition of the State Fair.


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