Nevada may not have a lake, but it does offer a few great fishing locations.
On Tuesday, three employees of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources were in Nevada checking out these local fisheries – two located at the SCORE Park (along 19th Street and by the Pavilion) and one (the Wilson Pond) located just off Indian Creek Trail west of S-14.
Tyler Stubbs, a community fishing biologist; Andy Otting, a fisheries technician; and Jordan Vetter, a natural resources aide, said it was their first time being in Nevada to assess the local ponds. They found a good crop of bass and bluegill at SCORE, and bluegill, green sunfish, common carp, and grass carp at the Wilson pond.
Stubbs said the main goal of the DNR’s Community Fishing Program is to “work with cities on providing quality fishing opportunities.” Initially, Stubbs said, “our cutoff was cities and suburb areas with (at least) 20,000 population.”
Fish Local posted information about fishing opportunities from the larger communities. As it did, Stubbs said, “we continued to get calls about the ponds in medium-sized cities, like Nevada.”
The Community Fishing Program (Fish Local) is a statewide program of the DNR. Stubbs said when cities contact him about their ponds, he calls on the DNR’s district biologist or technician. Otting is the technician for the Central Iowa Fisheries Management District, covering Boone, Story, Polk, Dallas, Warren, Jasper, and Marion.
To understand what’s in Nevada’s ponds, the DNR uses “electrofishing” as a sampling technique. “It’s the easiest and fastest way to get an idea of the fish population here,” Stubbs explained.
Electrofishing uses direct current electricity in the water to “stun” the fish to the surface, where they are netted and put in a holding tank for assessment.
“We sample as many as we can get, depending on the size of the pond,” Otting said. Once measured and weighed, the fish are released back into the water.
Stubbs, Otting, and Vetter liked what they saw with Nevada’s fishing amenities. But they had one issue at SCORE, where they found goldfish.
They admitted, they see goldfish too often in city ponds.
“Don’t drop your aquarium fish in a public pond,” Stubbs said. While it might be only a few inches long in your aquarium, the goldfish grows quite sizeable in a bigger setting. But, a goldfish isn’t the right fish to have in a fishery. Additionally, stocking any fish in a public waterbody is against the law.
“The goldfish is similar to a common carp, so they will muddy the waters and root up vegetation and compete with game species such as young bluegill for food,” Stubbs said.
To control the goldfish population, DNR officials moved some bigger bass from the east SCORE pond to the west SCORE pond.
The information gathered about Nevada ponds will be shared with Nevada Parks and Recreation as a resource for maintaining the ponds. Some of the information will also be shared on the DNR’s Fish Local web page, an excellent resource for anglers about what kinds of fish population and amenities they can find in city fishing locations.
“We try to list anything a city wants us to mention (about their fisheries),” Stubbs said. “Also, if we come across any issues, we can partner with the city to work on a plan to help resolve those issues.”
Tim Hansen, director of Nevada Parks and Recreation, said it was beneficial to have the DNR workers in Nevada on Tuesday. He said it was interesting to watch them do their fishing assessments and a great way to learn more about what Nevada can do to provide good fishing sites.
Residents can check out the DNR’s “Fish Local” web page at https://www.iowadnr.gov/Fishing/Fish-Local. A fishing license is required on these ponds if you are over 16 years old, and all statewide fishing regulations apply. You can also purchase a fishing license on the DNR’s website at ww.iowadnr.gov.