State biologist outlines lake's benefits to Mound City Council
Fishing at Mound City Lake gives the city plenty of business opportunities, according to Don George, fish biologist with Kansas Wildlife and Parks. (Wix stock photo)
By Roger Sims, Journal staff
MOUND CITY – Just ahead of Mound City’s annual youth fishing derby this Saturday, May 6, Don George, fish biologist with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) discussed the often unseen economic benefits of Mound City Lake with the city council at its meeting on Tuesday, May 2.
The city’s youth fishing derby will be at the city lake, which is west of the city at 11001 W. 750 Road. Registration for the derby begins at noon with fishing to begin at 12:30 p.m. The derby ends at 2:30 p.m. followed by distribution of prizes. Hotdogs will be served for lunch.
Prizes will be given in each age group for the most fish caught and the longest fish caught. Age groups include 5 and younger, 6 to 10, 11 to 14, and 15 to 18. Participants should bring a fishing pole, a bucket and a chair.
The lake will be closed for public fishing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the day of the derby.
If George’s discussion with the council is any indication, several anglers will be disappointed by the seven hour closure of the lake on that day. He said that by KDWP’s estimate, more than 4,500 anglers visited the lake last summer and more than 7,000 pounds of fish were either caught and released or harvested from the lake.
“That’s a major draw. I don’t know of anything else, for sure any thing else in Mound City, that would draw that many people,” George said. “If they were here on one weekend, everyone in town would go; ‘Oh, wow! The lake is fantastic for bringing in people. But they’re here every day.’”
Despite those numbers, he said, the usage of the lake is below average. That is largely because there is so much competition for anglers, including Critzer Lake, and both East Lake and Stegge Lake in Pleasanton.
However, the cumulative total of all four lakes is significantly above average.
George said it was important for the council to realize how much the state invests in the city’s lake. In 2022, about $25,500 worth of fish were stocked in the lake. That included $5,000 worth of catfish, $6,500 worth of genetically-altered grass carp, and $15,000 worth of walleye.
He suggested that the city could take better advantage of the traffic the lake brings in by having businesses do a better job of catering to their needs. For example, a restaurant could advertise its parking for pickups and boats.
City Superintendent John Bruns said he regularly sees anglers’ boats out on the water. “I saw eight or 10 boats the other day,” he said.
George said he appreciated the city keeping the lake open to the public. “It really does make a difference,” he said.
He also complimented Bruns and his workers for the job they have done creating a walking trail around the lake.
He said that the city needed to begin the second phase of the lake’s development, and that he needed to get paperwork on the second phase to KDWP by the end of the month.
Bruns talked about plans to expand the number of camping and recreational vehicle sites at the lake from the current four sites to as many as 16. Those sites have electrical hookups, firepits and other amenities.
Mayor Wade Doering suggested the city put the lake’s camping sites on Firefly Reservations, (fireflyreservations.com), a website where campers can reserve sites online. He said it would be much easier to rent the spaces out without requiring someone from the city to drive out to the lake when the campers arrived. The cost to list it on the site is $3.50 each time the campsite is rented.
The council approved listing on the Firefly website and also approved charging $15 per night for the campsites.