Fishing pond due for rehab

Casey's Pond becoming choked with weeds and silt

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Casey's Pond has always been one of the best places in Steamboat Springs to take youngsters trout fishing.

But silt and weeds have taken some of the fun out of the experience the past two years.

Now, the city of Steamboat Springs is making plans to take some of the muck out of Casey's.

"We've decided to try to dredge the primary fishing areas along the west side of the pond," city parks supervisor Ernie Jenkins said. "There are places where it's only 4 to 5 feet deep."

Casey's Pond is a city park at U.S. Highway 40 and Walton Creek Road. There isn't much dry land in the park -- just a modest parking area next to a small log cabin, a floating pier and enough shoreline to allow residents and visitors from across the country to catch a trout.

Together with Fetcher's Pond, it is managed by the Colorado Division of Wildlife as a put and take fishery. Accordingly, it is stocked at regular intervals throughout the summers with 10-inch rainbow trout.

Casey's is highly visible to visitors arriving in Steamboat via Rabbit Ears Pass and gets a lot of fishing use. Jenkins said the proliferation of aquatic weeds the past two summers has made it difficult for anglers to cast to open water where the fish are. In spring 2004, the DOW discovered that the shallow water combined with low dissolved oxygen content had added up to a significant fish kill.

"It's making it harder and harder to fish," Jenkins said. "The last two springtimes, we've used weighted rakes to pull some of the weeds out of there and haul them away."

After two years of trying, Jenkins has decided to make a more determined effort and has solicited proposals from excavating contractors to dredge a portion of the pond this fall.

Casey's will be only partially drained, allowing the lilies and other aquatic plants on the east side of the pond to remain undisturbed. Jenkins envisions that a trackhoe perched on shore will be able to dredge silt from the west side of the pond.

The work is being done in consultation with the DOW and if there are fish to be netted and saved, they probably will get a change of address this fall to Fetcher's Pond.

Dredging Casey's Pond will serve dual purposes. The city uses the water that flows into the pond from Burgess Creek to irrigate the soccer fields at nearby Ski Town Park as well as the landscaping surrounding the tennis center. Dredging the pond will increase water storage in the pond. Within the past 10 years, the city completed major rehabilitation work on the control gate and culvert under U.S. 40 that regulate the outflow of water from the pond into the Yampa River.

-- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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