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Community Fishing Ponds
#119751 05/23/08 11:52 AM
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n8ly Offline OP
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I read an article in the mag about a community fishing pond recently. I am looking for that article and cannot find it in my collection of mags. It must be in one of my loaned at mags. I am also looking for information about any community or handicapped accessible fishing ponds. Especially articles at this point, but ultimately any info about this type of pond.

I am working with some area sponsors- banks, businesses, and individuals and we are in the process of making the ultimate fishing ponds for Nursing Homes, Handicap Homes, School Field Trips, Church groups, etc. Our goal is to make these trips available at no cost to these organizations.

I have a presentation to give on June 4th and am gathering as much info as I can. I am definitely going to keep the forum updated on this project. Got one big hurdle to get through June 4th (trying to get a longterm lease on the property).


Re: Community Fishing Ponds
n8ly #119760 05/23/08 12:50 PM
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Nate:

Look through Norm Kopecky's posts. You should find some good info on handicapped-accessible fishing.

BTW Norm's pond is featured in the new PBMag.


"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
-S. M. Stirling
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Re: Community Fishing Ponds
Theo Gallus #119811 05/23/08 07:10 PM
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Here guys from Norm.


















Re: Community Fishing Ponds
ewest #119852 05/24/08 07:40 AM
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Nate PM Norm and Dave Willis.

I remember a PB Mag article about Norms water hole several years back. I also believe SDSU does some research there.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
Re: Community Fishing Ponds
Dave Davidson1 #119863 05/24/08 09:19 AM
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Yes, this month's is the second (at least) article about Norm's pond. Perusing Cody's back issue listings in the archives should show when the last article appeared.


"Live like you'll die tomorrow, but manage your grass like you'll live forever."
-S. M. Stirling
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Re: Community Fishing Ponds
Theo Gallus #119896 05/24/08 08:57 PM
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Jul-Aug 2004 PBM contained 1st article about Norm's pond. .


Keep This Forum Viable, Read Pond Boss Magazine -
America's Journal of Pond Management
Re: Community Fishing Ponds
Bill Cody #120209 05/28/08 01:17 AM
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Thanks Guys!


Re: Community Fishing Ponds
n8ly #120219 05/28/08 07:10 AM
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Make sure you speak to Norm. He's perfected this art of maintaining such a type of pond.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

Re: Community Fishing Ponds
Sunil #120247 05/28/08 09:59 AM
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n8ly, that's wonderful you're going to do this! I've answered your e-mail with some info and questions. To everyone, a friend is doing this with a lake that is only 50 ft. wide and 150 ft. long! Last year, he had over 500 people fishing at his pond! He specializes working with people with brain damage while we specialize working with people in wheel chairs.

As you've read in the last issue of Pond Boss, we get our fish to a fun catching size and then keep them hungry (relatively low Wr) so they are easy to catch. Most groups are only here for 2-3 hours and the fish have to be biting all the time, every time. Depending on my health and the weather, we have 2-4 groups out a week. The different organizations contact me, we set up a time and I'm there with every group. We provide all of the fishing gear and bait, all they have to do is show up.

I'm always glad to help anyone with this type of project!


Norm Kopecky
Re: Community Fishing Ponds
Norm Kopecky #120253 05/28/08 10:31 AM
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n8ly, this is the letter I wrote about considerations on a lake like yours. It appeared in the September/October 2007 issue of Pond Boss. Hopefully, this will give you some ideas.

Bob, thank you for the referral. I’m always glad to help anyone, anytime, anyway I can.

Keith, we have a 4-acre lake about 10 miles south of Sioux Falls, SD, a town of about 150,000. We use our lake for kids, handicapped and elderly fishing. Actually, we specialize in working with people in wheel chairs. The more you can tell me about your lake or the lake you are planning, the more suggestions I can provide.

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS:

Number 1, 2 and 3—Safety! This might seem obvious, but let me tell you, there are so many ways a person can get hurt around a lake that it’s almost hard to believe. Let’s go through a few of them.

·People in wheel chairs are often helpless if they should fall into the lake. Often there is a slope down to a lake, which means a wheel chair has a natural tendency to roll down into the lake. You need to have a barrier wherever people in wheel chairs might have access to your lake.
·Algae grows readily on almost anything. It is very slick and a person can fall very easily on it.
·Check your liability insurance very carefully and MAKE SURE you are covered.
·It doesn’t sound like fun, but you might have to fence this pond and run it like a swimming pool.
·We have a large covered bridge (8’ X 54’) and another large covered dock (10’ X 32’). We restrict people to fishing from these two places only. I’m very strict about this and don’t tolerate any exceptions.
·You might have noticed that I said “covered” bridges and docks. Many of the people that fish our lake cannot stand being in the sun. It’s also much more comfortable for everyone.
·I suggest you have a number of people go around your area looking for safety problems.

FISHING EQUIPMENT

·We provide all of the fishing equipment and bait needed. We keep it as simple as possible.
·We use spin-casting reels only as these are very easy to use.
·We use a single circle hooks on a leader attached to a swivel and catch. Above this is a split shot and bobber.
·When a person catches a fish, they reel it in until the fish is just out of the water. A helper then grabs the line and pulls the fish in the rest of the way. The rod is then put into a rod holder that holds the rod out over the lake. Rods, reels, hooks and fish flying all over the place are a recipe for disaster.
·We use circle hooks only as they tend to catch the fish in the lip, making it much easier to unhook the fish. Circle hooks are also very effective for use by people with limited fishing experience.

THE FISH

·You’ll have to tell us what you have in mind for a lake for us to give you suggestions.
·Our management goal is a very high catch rate of moderately sized fish. I would suggest this for you also. You definitely do not want a trophy largemouth lake.
·We practice catch and release. We often catch the same fish 25-50 times in its lifetime.
·Circle hooks are essential to our catch and release as they normally catch a fish in its lip.
·Channel catch fish are cheap, bite well and are good fighters. You can buy 1 to 1 ½ lb. catfish to stock immediately.

OTHER COMMENTS

·Depending on the physical abilities of the people fishing, I usually insist on one helper/staff member per person fishing.
·I am personally present in all cases of groups fishing. Groups contact me to set up times to come fishing.
·We have a hatchery permit, which allows us to legally manage this lake in ways the average person cannot. I suggest you contact your state fisheries department for help and advise. They are normally more than happy to help any way they can.
·Hire a professional. Bob Lusk and the other professionals advertising in the magazine will pay for themselves many times over.
·We have islands opposite the covered dock. People are not allowed on these islands and they are full of wildlife. Sometimes people just sit and watch the wildlife.

These are very general comments. The more you can tell us specifically, what you have in mind, the more we can give you specific suggestions.


Norm Kopecky
Re: Community Fishing Ponds
Norm Kopecky #120259 05/28/08 11:02 AM
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n8ly, let's do all of our commication on the forum so everyone can learn.

Can you describe your lakes exactly? Size, age etc.
Describe your fish population?
Describe your current usage?
Describe any roads, docks etc. you currently have?
Describe exactly which groups you want to work with?
Describe how many people you project to use your lakes?
Describe your plans for the future?
Describe exactly what help you would like from us?

Thanks,


Norm Kopecky
Re: Community Fishing Ponds
Norm Kopecky #120268 05/28/08 01:14 PM
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Thanks Norm for letting us join in on the learning. Others - we have groups out (up to 200) - scouts , seniors , church groups etc. The same concepts apply as per Norm's letter to these groups - safety first , second and third.
















Re: Community Fishing Ponds
ewest #120299 05/28/08 04:46 PM
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Norm,
I am definitely going to take you up on your offer and am glad to share the process with the forum, hoping others will chime in with ideas as well. I will post some aerials and answer all of the above questions as soon as I get a chance. I have to take out a guided fishing trip tonight, and tomorrow morning, but then should have some time!

THANKS!!!


Re: Community Fishing Ponds
Norm Kopecky #120333 05/28/08 11:32 PM
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Norm,
You are definitely the guy to talk to! Not interested in hiring Lusk for this project, a trophy fishery is not my main concern. Our goal is to create a fishery just like you described above for handicapped groups, nursing homes, field trips, and kids derbies at no cost to the groups.

We are working with some area businesses and already have sponsors for various projects. On the to do list first thing is a fence and gate to keep tresspassers out and in some cases people in. About 100' of wheel chair accessible fishing shoreline on the 2 acre pond, tons of clean up and landscaping, revamp the building by turning the old cafeteria into a classroom (already has boys and girls bathrooms with 3 stalls each), and then get all of the necessary groups, inspectors, safety directors, etc to let us know what we need to do to cater to these people legally. We want to get the community involved and want to make this a world class facility! Keeping the ponds stocked with fish will not be a problem at all. We constantly remove thousands of bluegill, bass, and crappie from clients lakes and 1 lb catfish and rainbows are cheap to buy and readily available year round.

The place is our trout ponds owned by Dixons Seafoods that I have talked about in recent threads. It is about 10 acres and has 3 ponds that are fed by a series of springs. (not the typical illinois springs either, im talking about thousands of gallons of water pouring in and out every day)

The water shoots out of about 250 2" diameter pipes that are stuck in the ground in various places and is collected in a series of 4 pools about 1/10 of an acre each.

The water then goes through about 50' of culvert and shoots into the first pond (about a 1' drop into the pond) This creates a current that flows pretty good around the pond.

The first pond drains drains into the 2 other ponds, one on each side, then into the illinois river from each pond. the first pond is about 1 acre, the 2nd about 2 acres and the third about 3 acres. All ponds are 6' deep most all the way around because of retaining walls are all the way around. The bottom of the ponds are mostly rocks.

They used to operate one of the first fee fishing lakes in America starting in the 1930's. They would catch carp and catfish from the river and stock their ponds with them. They did this until about 10 years ago they shut that operation down. They haven't used the ponds for anything since then.

This place is set up for fishing with retaining walls and easy access completely around all three ponds, it just needs to be cleaned up and a few walls repaired. One big hurdle we have is that the ponds gravity drain into the illinois river, and when the river gets above 25 feet, they dont drain anymore and start filling up against the levee. The river never comes in, just all three ponds become one pond until the river goes back down. We need to keep that in mind when building handicapped accessible structures.

Norm,
That is where I need the most immediate help is designing some sort of wheel chair fishing area about 100 to 200 feet long. The pond is only 1 foot lower than the parking lot which borders the edge of the 2 acre pond for about 250'. A retaining wall goes the whole way down the pond. All I need to do is basically put up a railing and then some sort of floor (currently white rock).
Concrete sidewalk is an option, or we were thinking wood deck boards. How tall should the railing be?


Re: Community Fishing Ponds
n8ly #120388 05/29/08 07:28 PM
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n8ly, it sounds like you have a great start! I think this is something every community needs. Government can't do everything, we've got to take it upon ourselves to do a lot of this.

Please, everyone else join in. We all have something to offer.

Before I get to the railing, let me go over a few other points.

Consider this to be a business and run it as such. Keep business books and get them audited. Are you going to incorporate as a non-profit? It's worth considering. Get a statement in writing from your insurance company that they will cover everything.

Whenever you get anything from anyone, there is ALWAYS a string attached. It might be as simple as their name in a newsletter but it might be much more involved. Make sure everyone is clear about their expectations.

This can easily turn into a full time job and more. Get together with everyone involved in this (and their spouses) and get firm commitments about how much time they will commit to this. People have a nasty habit of talking much and doing little. So start small and build up slowly. It's easier to add groups than it is to turn people away.

Good for you to fence the area. You are avoiding more problems than you can shake a stick at by doing this. I also suggest you allow absolutely NO ONE to fish unless you or an authorized person is with them.

Provide all of the fishing equipment and bait. Keep it simple. I use spin casting equipment with a circle hook, split shot and bobber. I can't emphasis circle hooks enough. People feel really bad if a fish dies because it swallowed a hook.

Now, finally, to the railing. Look at the picture of our dock that ewest posted on page 1. We just used the Sioux Falls building code for a deck. That is a three ft. tall railing with 2 X 2's set on 6 inch centers. The top of the railing is a 2 X 6 caping a 2 X 4 over a 4 X 4. You will notice that the 4 X 4's go up 7 ft. and support a covered roof made of sheet metal. You will notice that I use rod holders on the railing. Many of the people using our pond cannot hold a rod and need this help.

This dock is 32 ft. long and 10 ft. wide. It is anchored to the shore and thus extends 10 ft. out over the water. The fish like to stay under the dock because of the shade. Also, I filled the area under the dock with concrete (cinder) blocks that attract bait fish. There is always good fishing here.

This area will hold about 5-6 people in wheel chairs with their helpers. The other thing it does is control where people are fishing. The worst thing that can happen to you is to have people (kids especially) wander off. Rather than one long area, you might consider 3-4 docks like this. It would allow you to control the people fishing at your lake better.

I don't mean to get carried away but these are some things you might consider. Please, everyone else join in.


Norm Kopecky
Re: Community Fishing Ponds
Norm Kopecky #120392 05/29/08 08:38 PM
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Norm,
THANKS!
It is being set up as a non-profit organization and all of the legal work and insurance is being taken care of by a local businessman and his staff. There will be a full time staff running everything and then various groups are being lined up to help staff events. I will have pictures, a power point and a presentation that I will post after my meeting on June 4th. That will give you a better idea of what we are dealing with.

If we get this lease, I would like to come out to your place (with your permission of course) to check out your set up and talk about your experiences. I also think others will chime in with ideas and opinions once I get some more info posted.


Re: Community Fishing Ponds
n8ly #120432 05/30/08 09:21 AM
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n8ly, you're welcome to visit anytime! That goes for anyone else.

Here's some more ideas for you. It all is about control.

It sounds great to have 500 kids out but is a nightmare to control. Yes, I know many groups do it. I suggest lots of small groups (a dozen or so people) rather than a few larger ones. This is also why I suggested many smaller docks like I described. You have easy control over the group. You can also give much more individual attention to the people fishing. If these docks are situated around your pond, you can rotate fishing to take pressure off of any one place.

Also, I've found that feeding pellets kills fishing. Yes, experienced fishermen can get around this but you're talking about people with little or no experience. As stated in the last article of Pond Boss, I keep our fish hungry (low Wr) so that when a group shows up, there isn't any question about fish biting. They are!

You can get over run with groups wanting to fish. I'd be very selective about the groups you work with. Since I do this myself, if they're not in a wheel chair, in general, I don't work with them. I suggest you focus your efforts on groups who for whatever reason, don't have access to good fishing. That's not to say that church groups, boy scouts etc. aren't worth while but they have the ability to find other places to fish.

You haven't addressed the issue of keeping fish to eat. In my case, I have to do catch and release since I don't have a good way to replace fish that would be removed. You might be in a completely different situation.

Would you mind going over your other posts with me so that I can look them over and get a better idea about your area?

Let's keep this subject going. There's a lot to learn here. I would love to see every community have a facility like yours!


Norm Kopecky
Re: Community Fishing Ponds
n8ly #120434 05/30/08 09:23 AM
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n8ly, you're welcome to visit anytime! That goes for anyone else.

Here's some more ideas for you. It all is about control.

It sounds great to have 500 kids out but is a nightmare to control. Yes, I know many groups do it. I suggest lots of small groups (a dozen or so people) rather than a few larger ones. This is also why I suggested many smaller docks like I described. You have easy control over the group. You can also give much more individual attention to the people fishing. If these docks are situated around your pond, you can rotate fishing to take pressure off of any one place.

Also, I've found that feeding pellets kills fishing. Yes, experienced fishermen can get around this but you're talking about people with little or no experience. As stated in the last article of Pond Boss, I keep our fish hungry (low Wr) so that when a group shows up, there isn't any question about fish biting. They are!

You can get over run with groups wanting to fish. I'd be very selective about the groups you work with. Since I do this myself, if they're not in a wheel chair, in general, I don't work with them. I suggest you focus your efforts on groups who for whatever reason, don't have access to good fishing. That's not to say that church groups, boy scouts etc. aren't worth while but they have the ability to find other places to fish.

You haven't addressed the issue of keeping fish to eat. In my case, I have to do catch and release since I don't have a good way to replace fish that would be removed. You might be in a completely different situation.

Would you mind going over your other posts with me so that I can look them over and get a better idea about your area?

Let's keep this subject going. There's a lot to learn here. I would love to see every community have a facility like yours!


Norm Kopecky
Re: Community Fishing Ponds
Norm Kopecky #120909 06/04/08 08:41 AM
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n8ly, I suggest you contact John Alvarez at My Fishing Pond, Inc. 26331 432nd Ave., Bridgewater, SD 57319. H 605-729-2718 C 605-240-0248.

John was in an accident a few years ago and suffered severe brain damage. He can't drive, run a computer or stand loud sounds. He and his wife moved to an old farm site. In this area, there is only one family per every section or two. Anyhow, he built a pond that is only 50 ft. X 150 ft. Last year, he had over 500 people fishing at this lake! Not only did they fish, he had a picnic for them free of charge. He's done a good job of getting support for his project. I've asked him and he'd love to talk with you. Give him a call, he can't use a computer.

With all of this fishing, John was down to 1 LMB, 1 SMB and 1 white bass. I'd told John that I'd always keep him stocked with fish but cormorants had really hit us hard this year. I couldn't get fish any place else so we went fishing on the James River, which is only about half an hour from John's place. We caught half a dozen smaller CC, one 20 inch walleye and our real prize, goldeyes. Around here, goldeyes are also called skipjacks (which they are not) and are considered a "trash fish". They are boney and a person must know how to smoke them. In Canada, they are considered one of the best eating fish there is. They are silver, up to 16-18 inches long and are unsurpassed in their fighting ability. This includes LMB, SMB, HSB and anything else you can think of.

John now has his lake stocked and is ready for his first group this weekend.

Give him a call.


Norm Kopecky
Re: Community Fishing Ponds
Norm Kopecky #120958 06/04/08 08:16 PM
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Norm,
I gave the presentation today, which i will post as soon as i get my hands on the cd. We are going to have some legal issues to get through the next couple weeks, but things are looking promising!!! Once we get the lease, our first project is the fence, cleaning up, landscaping, then the handicapped area which will be a concrete sidewalk with a railing. I just got to get the presentation and pics posted, then we can talk better. We would like to be ready for the 2009 season, but this is the slow part of the process right now.

I will be giving John a call in the next few weeks, and would like to visit him when I am in the area. The way it looks now, it will be the fall before I get up your way. (when does pheasant season start in S.Dakota?)


Re: Community Fishing Ponds
n8ly #121804 06/13/08 06:59 AM
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Here are some pictures of the place. Still waiting for the go ahead to get started, then comes some legal work, but we are still making progress.









Re: Community Fishing Ponds
n8ly #121825 06/13/08 10:03 AM
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n8ly, how beautiful! You have the opportunity to have a world class facility! This is so much more than anything we have in South Dakota.

One thing that I suggest is that you have some people that are experts in safety go around with you and look at things that might go wrong. That white rock walkway is beautiful but when it comes to wheel chairs, it would scare the living daylights out of me.

Great pictures and a wonderful facility. Congratulations!


Norm Kopecky
Re: Community Fishing Ponds
Norm Kopecky #121948 06/14/08 09:29 PM
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Norm,
would you be considered a person that is an expert in safety??? Do you have any relatives in central illinois you need to visit?

We definitely will have quite a few different people and groups give us ideas on how to make the place best accomodate everyone!
The wheel chair area will be concrete with a railing.

We will be working on drafting up the lease in the next couple weeks.


Re: Community Fishing Ponds
n8ly #121949 06/14/08 09:41 PM
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Pics from trout fishing here last week





Re: Community Fishing Ponds
n8ly #122306 06/19/08 08:41 AM
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n8ly, what beautiful pictures. You really have a great thing going.

No, I'm not an expert at anything except for opening my mouth when I probably shouldn't.

Both John Alvarez and I have little operations so we really don't have to worry about the Americans with Disabilities Act. You might have to.

Will you be able to confine people in wheel chairs to one area? That's a beautiful walk but will you be able to keep wheel chairs off it? I suggest you conduct the old time test. Strap yourself into a wheel chair and see what kind of trouble you can get yourself into. People in wheel chairs and their families will be better than you at getting themselves into trouble. So when you get yourself into a position and say "they wouldn't do this", believe me, they will.


Norm Kopecky
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