HANNIBAL | When the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department undertook the Huckleberry Park pond renovation project, one of its objectives was to provide the public with a good “fishin' hole.” To help achieve that goal the parks department has sought insights from the Missouri Department of Conservation.
During the January meeting of the Hannibal Park Board, Aron Lee, the city's assistant director of central services (parks division), said the state has not only provided information on stocking the pond, but on how to keep it successful.
“We have a good idea of what we want to do,” Lee said. “I think the biggest thing that we will have to do is educate the public a little bit right off the bat that they are not going to see huge fish in there. People are going to be really excited to get there and start fishing, but it will take a little bit of time for that population to grow into 'keepers.'” While fishing will likely be allowed initially in the Huckleberry Park pond, Lee said that the public may not be able to keep all that it catches.
“On certain species we will have to put in regulations,” he said. “For some species it will be catch-and-release for a while until they are able to grow.”
Lee said that in early spring minnows will likely be placed in the pond. “Then we will bring in other species of fish and they will already have a large food population on which to feed upon,” he said.
Even before the pond was renovated, it had a reputation for being home to some large fish. Last fall, before the pond work began, an effort was made by parks department personnel to catch and remove as many fish as possible. Despite the fact the pond at the time was no more than 4 feet deep at its deepest point, it reportedly held some carp weighing as much as 20 to 30 pounds. Also rescued was a 20-pound flathead catfish.
The fish taken from the Huckleberry Park pond last fall were relocated to a pond at Hannibal Regional Airport.
A change order which extended the completion date of the pond project to April 1, 2020, was approved by the city council on Jan. 7. The deadline extension was necessary to give the pond time to fill with enough water so that the installation of an ADA dock can be completed.
According to Lee, the pond is steadily filling.
“We are anxious to get more precipitation so that thing can get full,” he said. “Even on days when we haven't had anything (rain or snow) for a week you still see water running into the pond from the sediment basin area. There is a pipe there that runs into the pond and it is still draining in. It is still filling.”