Outdoors Places: Veterans Park Pond among top Close to Home fisheries
Veterans Park Pond is worth a closer look as it received its first winter stocking of rainbow trout on Thursday and will surely see plenty of visitors until the water warms and the trout are done the first of March.
The pond is in an easy-to-find location near the Creek Turnpike in Jenks, just off Elm Street at Date Street. The large Veterans Park features the Veterans’ Memorial and was the city’s 2005 Centennial Celebration project. It offers large play areas, playground equipment, restroom facilities and covered pavilions.
The six-acre pond and adjacent park are owned and managed by the City of Jenks, but the pond is managed cooperatively with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation as part of its Close To Home fishing program.
As part of the program, the Wildlife Department has greater authority to assist the city with managing the fishing at the pond, and state game wardens are authorized to enforce regulations there.
It is not only stocked with rainbow trout in the winter but gets annual boosts with channel catfish and hybrid bluegill, according to Josh Johnston, Wildlife Department regional fisheries supervisor.
The pond has ample shoreline access thanks to low water levels and a recent effort by Wildlife Department personnel to clear away some willows along the shoreline, Johnston said. It also has two wheelchair-accessible fishing docks.
The pond offers catch-and-release-only fishing for largemouth bass, some of which are upwards of 7 pounds, Johnston said.
Rainbow trout are stocked in the pond December through February courtesy of the department and BancFirst.
The first load of 700 pounds of trout was dumped Thursday and subsequent stockings will come, roughly, every two weeks, with the last coming in mid-February, Johnston said.
A state fishing license is required to fish the pond, and other regulations allow only bank fishing (no wading, tubing or boating), only one pole or rod-and-reel per person, a six-trout per person per day limit, and no releasing of fish previously caught and kept (culling for larger fish) is allowed.
For information on the pond, contact the Jenks Wildlife Department office at 918-299-2334.
Here are a few other thoughts on this close-to-home fishing location:
Good for kids: The pond is stocked for Kids Fishing Day each spring but it is a good one for the kids to hit all year round. The bank access is easy, bites are usually plentiful with plenty of bluegill and crappie in the waters and you just never know what you might catch.
The trash factor: City of Jenks keeps the grounds in good shape, but it does get plenty of traffic, so be prepared to pick up after the people who probably littered just before you arrived. Trash cans are located nearby.
South side, north side: The south side of the pond – the park side – is the easiest shoreline to access. The north side is a little brushy, but if you look you’ll find places where people have created trails to the water’s edge. When the water is low most of that side offers easy walking.
Baits: Trout anglers will do well with the usual lineup of small spinners and spoons such as Rooster Tails, Super Dupers, and Mepps Vibrax, or baits such as Berkley Power Baits, worms or salmon eggs. Catfish anglers will have luck with nightcrawlers or stink baits and bass fishermen will find luck with any of the typical baits used seasonally for bass, including spinnerbaits, surface lures or plastic creature baits.
The rules: All close-to-home ponds are subject to the following rules.
— Kelly Bostian, Tulsa World