Baldwin City Fishermen are giving the thumbs up to the work done at Douglas County State Fishing Lake. The lake was reopened to fishing in January after being closed for renovation since 2005.
“This has been my best year of fishing ever,” said Marvette Ralston, Baldwin City, who has fished the lake with his grandson. “Douglas County State Fishing Lake is so close; it’s the perfect spot to relax in the canoe and fish.
“We have caught bluegill, sunfish, perch, largemouth bass and catfish so far using worms or shad. It’s been mostly catch and release this year, but we did bring home our limit of catfish one Friday.”
Richard Sanders, fisheries biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, was in charge of the restocking efforts in fall 2006 as the lake was refilled with water. He’s hearing good reports, too.
“Anglers have caught many channel catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill and redear sunfish since the lake was reopened,” Sanders said.
Sanders isn’t done with the stocking program yet.
“Black crappie adults were stocked during fall 2008 and they should have spawned this spring, establishing a population,” he said. “If all goes well, there should be a fishable population of crappie in a couple of years.
“Saugeye may be stocked during spring 2010. It depends on how the crappie progress. Channel catfish will be stocked on an annual basis to maintain that fishery. The other species, except saugeye, should be able to maintain fishable populations without additional stockings.”
Work on the lake started after it was drained in November 2005 — all 1 billion gallons. Repairs were then made to the dam and other improvements were made to update the lake, which was opened in 1961.
The state project cost $500,000.