As the weather warms up and the warm spring rains roll in, many Oklahomans start gearing up for outdoor activities — including fishing.
In Ardmore, several city lakes have fishing piers and boating access in addition to the facilities at Lake Murray, but there’s only one spot where younger children can fish exclusively. Because the kid’s fishing pond is located inside the City of Ardmore’s Regional Park, it is open to the public for that purpose seven days a week, from sunup to sunset.
This Saturday, the fishing festivities kick off from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the Kids Fishing Derby. In order to make sure everyone has an opportunity to catch a fish, Tess Stewart with Ardmore Parks and Recreation, and Cliff Sager, a fisheries biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, teamed up to stock the pond for the event. “This pond already has a population of fish in it,” Sager said, “but we want to make sure there’s plenty of fish so that the kids can catch something.”
Several hybrid sunfish, along with the native sunfish and blue gill from the hatchery, were stocked in the pond late Thursday morning. Sager said the fish generally adjust well to being transported around the state. “The ponds are generally pretty similar to what we have at the hatchery,” Sager said. The fish Sager brought to the pond Thursday is a hybrid sun fish, which is a fish that the Department of Wildlife Conservation purposely spawns at their fish hatchery in Durant for these fishing clinics.”They’re really agressive, so the kids can catch them really fast,” Sager said. The hybrid sunfish is a cross between the blue gill and the green sunfish. This fish can be raised quickly in the hatchery and responds well to the pellet food.
“They’ll eat a worm off a bobber pretty fast,” Sager said. “The kids like that.” The kid’s fishing pond was also stocked with over 100 channel catfish just a few weeks ago. Saturday, the kids will have an opportunity to catch channel catfish, the hybrid sunfish, native sunfish and largemouth bass.
The Derby will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will be separated into two age groups, 4-9 and 10-15. Participants will have an opportunity to win prizes for number of fish caught, biggest fish and best selfie with a fish. Cost for the event is $5 per kid or $15 per family. For more information, call (580) 223-4844.