By Mary Allgier
This summer, Carmel Parks and Recreation and the Indiana DNR want you to go fish.
The Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources launched a statewide program this year called Go FishIN in the city that provides shore fishing opportunities for Hoosiers in urban areas.
Meadowlark Park, located just northwest of downtown Carmel, is Carmel’s Go FIshIN in the City location and will be stocked with channel catfish throughout the summer
“Their goal with this program is to see what the needs are in the Carmel area and then bring the fish to us,” Lindsay Labas, marketing manager for Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation, said.
Labas said Carmel Parks and Recreation has worked with the Indiana DNR and Aquatic Control for a while to maintain three fisheries in Carmel: Central Park, West Park and Meadow Lark.
Since Central and West Park are more frequently used, Meadow Lark was chosen to encourage more use of the pond.
According to Sandy Clark-Kolaks, a fisheries biologist with the DNR, channel catfish are brought to ponds in nine cities across Indiana.
“Catfish are just really easy to raise, easy to catch, you don’t need special equipment to catch them, and they taste great. So it’s kind of a win-win situation,” Clark-Kolaks said. “All the lakes have Blue gill and bass already that are naturally reproducing.”
The catfish that are coming into Meadow Lark actually spent the winter at the Terre Haute Federal Penitentiary.
“It’s kind of a rehabilitation program,” Clark-Kolaks said. “They have an indoor aquaculture center so they can get the fish to grow through the winter.”
Clark-Kolaks also said the goal of Go FishIN in the City was to encourage fishing as a stress reliever and to provide fishing opportunities that are close to home.
GoFishIN in the city was started this year, but Carmel Parks and Recreation has been working with the DNR and Aquatic Control on Central Park, West Park and Meadow Lark ponds for some time.
The DNR handles fish and vegetation mostly, and Aquatic Control combats algae and pesky weeds.
“They (DNR) conduct an initial survey to see what species are present in the ponds and then which ones we can add to the pond to give more of an opportunity for someone to catch a good-sized fish and add more variety to the pond,” Labas said.
Throughout the summer, representatives from DNR will be at Meadow Lark conducting surveys to better understand anglers’ needs.
“We appreciate people stopping to do this survey,” Clark-Kolaks added.
Check out the Indiana DNR’s website to learn more about Go FishIN in the city as well as how to get a fishing license.