Dexter Statesman
The former Daily Statesman is now The Dexter Statesman.

Restocking of city pond scheduled

Tuesday, October 9, 2012
NOREEN HYSLOP photo-nhyslop@dailystatesman.com Missouri Dept. of Conservation Biologist Mike Reed, at left, and MDC Fisheries Management Biologist Paul Cieslewicz work to retrieve one of six fish traps that were placed in the Dexter City Pond for three days last week to survey the catfish population. Only three channel catfish were pulled from the traps, indicating an extremely low population following the July natural kill that claimed thousands of the pond's fish.

There were plenty of shad, crappie, and a multitude turtles in six fish traps set last week at the Dexter City Pond, but noticeably absent were the catfish. As suspected by Department of Conservation Biologist Mike Reed, the natural fish kill that devastated the pond during severe heat and drought conditions in early July took its toll on the pond's catfish population.

Six baited mesh traps were lowered into various areas of the city pond on Tuesday, Oct. 2. They were left in place until Reed and MDC Fisheries Management Biologist Paul Cieslewicz pulled each from the waters late Friday morning, revealing the lack of channel cat.

Only three catfish were recovered in the test, all within one of the traps that had been placed near the east end of the pond. The three were measured before being returned to their pond home. They averaged about 17 inches in length.

NOREEN HYSLOP photo-nhyslop@dailystatesman.com Fisheries Management Biologist Paul Cieslewicz prepares to measure one of only three channel cat pulled from the pond during Friday's survey.

Thousands of fish -- shad, crappie, catfish, large mouth bass and bluegill -- met their demise during the first weekend in July when several contributing factors related to the extreme summer heat deprived the pond of

oxygen.

"We kind of expected this," Reed said after retrieving the traps late Friday. "We already made a request for some surplus fish, but based on this finding, we're actually going to do a double stocking."

That restocking will take place in the coming weeks, with about 500 channel cat raised at the MDC fisheries scheduled to be delivered to Dexter.

"They'll be about eight to 10-inch channel cats," Reed said. "Some may be bigger than that. So by this time next year, those fish will weigh a pound or more. In two years, we should be seeing some good sized catfish coming out of this pond again."

Reed encourages anglers to continue fishing out the abundance of shad and crappie that are in the pond.

"We need to continue to harvest those fish," he explains. "They're fun to catch along the shoreline of the pond, and we'd encourage folks to come out and catch their daily limit of these varieties of fish."

Dexter Parks and Recreation Director Lawson Metcalf was also on hand Friday to witness the findings of last week's survey at the pond, and expressed his gratitude to the MDC.

"We came into an agreement with the Department of Conservation in the late 1980s to help us manage the city pond," Metcalf says. "And it's been of great benefit to the city. This test and the restocking plan are prime examples of that, and the city is extremely grateful for their management."