HANNIBAL — The next wave of fish that is being used to stock the Huckleberry Park pond is due to arrive Thursday in Hannibay.
Aron Lee, the city’s assistant director of central services (parks division), said Curryville Fisheries will be delivering largemouth bass and channel catfish to the pond.
The bass and catfish will join the fathead minnows, bluegill and red ear sunfish that were purchased by the Hannibal Parks and Recreation Department and released in the pond this spring.
Later this fall, trout, about 12 to 14 inches in length and weighing about 1 pound, will be added.
“They would be brought in in November when the water temperature is cool enough,” Lee said.
Initially the trout will be available on a catch-and-release basis only. But that will change in early 2021.
“Around February we will allow the trout to be caught and harvested because once the water temperature reaches around 70 degrees all those fish will die out because it is not a spring-fed pond,” Lee said.
Lee could not say if trout will be added annually to the pond.
“We will give it a try this winter and see how it goes,” he said. “If it goes well, it is something we might continue to do in the future. We have received a lot of inquiries about it so we are assuming it will be pretty popular.”
While fishing in the Huckleberry Park pond during the upcoming winter will be permitted, going out on the ice to fish will be prohibited.
“Municipalities do not want ice fishing because of their insurance company’s liability,” said Andy Dorian, the city’s director of central services.
While the stocking of the pond with fish remains to be completed, most of the project’s other work has been wrapped up.
“They have got the benches in,” Dorian said. “They have got a big message board coming which will have all the (fishing) rules and regulations on it.”
Not far from the pond was a park roadway that was repaved late this summer.
“It was in really bad shape to begin with. With that heavy equipment (needed during the pond project) on there it put a final nail in the coffin,” Dorian said. “If you drive past the tennis courts that has all been repaved. It looks really good.”
Dorian is pleased to call the project complete.
“It was a successful project,” he said. “From where we started to where we finished I couldn’t be more pleased with that project. We have had a ton of good support.
“Now we have got to start thinking about what comes next.”
The project was undertaken in part because the 63-acre park’s pond was leaking water. It also suffered from bank erosion and accessibility issues.
The pond was drained, excavated and lined with clay. It was widened at its north end. The shore was lined with stone rip rap to control erosion. A sidewalk was constructed around the pond and a handicap accessible dock has been installed for people with mobility issues.