The Canal Winchester Times

Heritage Park

Resident fishing for better conditions at city pond

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A favorite fishing spot in Groveport appears to be too much of a favorite, turning the happy call of "gone fishing" to just "gone fish."

Resident William Milton told Groveport City Council last week that the catch-and-release pond in Heritage Park is being over-fished, and many anglers aren't releasing the fish back into the pond to be caught another day.

"I hate to see the pond go to a plunder," Milton said. "People come at night and they catch the catfish and other fish but they don't release them."

He asked that the city consider putting up more signs at the pond, reminding fishermen and other visitors of the rules that are aimed at preserving the pond and sustaining the wildlife, which includes fish, birds and other amphibian animals, for the enjoyment of everyone.

According to the city's website, current rules prohibit boating, swimming, ice fishing, ice skating or walking on ice at the pond, unless approved by the city administrator.

Anyone age 16 or older must release the fish they catch, except during a two-week period of scheduled fish releases/stocking.

Any bass or catfish smaller than 16 inches long must be released.

Hunting or collecting frogs, turtles, birds or other animals on park property is prohibited, unless otherwise authorized by state law.

Seining (casting nets for purpose of catching fish) is prohibited.

The use of gas-powered model boats is prohibited.

In addition, the city's website says all other state and federal wildlife statutes "shall be applicable."

"I take my grandkids down there frequently and the fish just aren't there any more, so I'm concerned posting signs won't be enough," Milton said. "I've never seen the Ohio Department of Natural Resources down there enforcing these rules, but if you get one person caught in a situation down there, that word will spread like wildfire."

Police Chief Ralph Portier agreed with Milton, saying he's also never seen the ODNR in that area, but he would reach out to the agency.

According to Milton, people have trampled down much of the wetlands areas near the pond, where there once were cattails and other growth that helped foster more fish and wildlife.

"This gentleman is right on target with what he's saying, and the mud that you have to wade through now just to get to the water line is terrible," Councilman Ed Rarey said.

Milton said it's become more like a cattle pond than a fishing pond.

City staff members agreed to follow up with ODNR officials and to determine appropriate signage and other improvements to restore the pond for future generations.

"I want to thank you for bringing this to our attention," Mayor Lance Westcamp said. "We'll make sure we do what we can to improve the situation."

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