Almost every evening, when I walk my dog down at Seventh Street, I see children fishing in the pond. With them in mind, here are two other ponds that are close enough to ride a bike to, and far enough away to keep the children out of your hair for a couple of hours.
The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs has a pond outside Prairie City that is open to the public. This year the pond was stocked for the first time with 1,000 trout.
"The fishing hasn't been very well, because you couldn't get to it. It got away from us this year, as far as weeds go," said Carl Sheppard, a conservation area technician for the Confederated Tribes. There is also an otter in the pond, which has been "helping himself" to the fish, Sheppard said.
"Next year, we're planning to stock some trophy trout, up to three pounds," said Brent Smith, habitat manager for the Confederated Tribes.
Oregon Youth Conservation Corps and the Confederated Tribes have been doing a number of improvements to the area around the pond. They have planted trees, built a fence, started a garden that will be used to collect seeds from native plant species, and have test-plots for native grasses. Most recently, they have been clearing weeds out of the pond.
"The whole program here is for restoration of the environment," said Terry Zacharias, a conservation area technician for the Confederated Tribes.
Eventually, there will also be a dock, a gazebo, walking paths and picnic tables around the pond. They plan to make the site handicap accessible, Zacharias said.
"It's basically for the kids. It's close enough to town that they can ride their bikes out here during the day," Zacharias said.
To get to the pond go east out of Prairie City on Highway 26 and look for the The Confederated Tribes's John Day Basin office on the left side of the road. There is a liability waiver that must be signed in the office before going to the pond. The pond is on the other side of the road. There is a gravel road on the far side of the red metal barn that leads to the pond, which is open to the public 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Catch and release is encouraged.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife pond - There is a small pond behind the ODFW screen shop which is open to the public from 7:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Fishing for rainbow trout up to 15 inches was good earlier in the season, but in recent weeks bass have been easier to catch. To get there take Highway 26 west out of John Day, and turn right on Patterson Bridge road. The screen shop is on the right.
Reilly Cosgrove is a summer intern for the Eagle. He will be a senior this fall at eastern Oregon University. He may be reached at 575-0710, or at email@example.com.