ALLIANCE -- Laing Lake is the latest addition to a list of waters that will be getting some help from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission^s new Urban Fisheries Program.
The lake will receive a stocking of 500 12-inch-plus channel catfish Aug. 4 and could receive more help next year in the form of an aeration system to improve water quality. "If we can get that put in next year, we^ll really be able to do some things," said Rick Eades, director of the Urban Fisheries Program.
"In terms of an urban fishery, it^s an ideal site. It^s a city park in the middle of town surrounded by houses and right next to the school. When I was there last week, there were at least a half-dozen kids fishing that had ridden in on their bicycles."
Other opportunities to fish can be found near this Panhandle city of about 10,000, but none within 20 miles. "That doesn^t do kids on bicycles much good," Eades said.
The goal of the Urban Fisheries Program is to improve recreational fishing in and around Nebraska^s urban areas and in the process, provide more opportunities for residents of those areas, especially children, to fish. That help could come in the form of habitat improvement, special regulations, aeration systems or fish feeders to improve the quality of the fishery or additional stockings of fish.
Working with the Commission^s Aquatic Education Program, it will also help provide educational opportunities through fishing clinics and events that encourage people to take children fishing.
Since the program was initiated this spring, Eades has identified about 30 lakes as candidates for improvement.
The Urban Fisheries Program is funded through the sale of Nebraska Fishing Permits, the Federal Sport Fish Restoration Program -- an excise tax on fishing tackle -- and motorboat fuel taxes.
Other lakes that will receive stockings of catchable-sized channel catfish yet this summer include:
Schuyler Lake, Schuyler, 450 fish on July 28.
Oak Lake, Lincoln, 500 fish on July 21, Aug. 4 and Aug. 18.
Hitchcock Park Lake, 100 fish on Aug. 4 and Aug. 18.