Nicky Boulger, office manager for the Wyman Museum, used one word to describe her feelings Thursday.
“Yay!” said Boulger.
On Thursday, a tanker truck loaded with 1,000 10-inch rainbow trout rolled onto the museum grounds and disgorged its contents into the oxbow pond.
The occasion marked the final step in a project that began six years ago.
In 2005, Boulger had an idea to add fishing to the list of activities and exhibits the Craig museum provides. However, the oxbow pond — a remnant of the Yampa River that was cut off by railroad engineers in 1913 — was too shallow to support a fishery.
So, Boulger began soliciting donations and grants to dredge the pond.
By fall 2010, Boulger had raised enough money. Dredging was completed in January. And, with the spring thaw, the oxbow filled with water.
On Thursday, the Colorado Division of Wildlife provided the Wyman Museum with free fish from Rifle Falls Hatchery. Mike Bauman, district wildlife manager for the DOW’s Craig North district, said the gift is part of his agency’s mission.
“The division is constantly looking for opportunities to open new waters to the public,” Bauman said. “So, it’s just a great, glove-fit with what they’ve got going on out here.”
Bauman said the DOW also played a role in funding the dredging project through their Fishing is Fun grant — a program that has also awarded money to other Craig fisheries such as the ponds at the Moffat County Public Safety Center and Loudy-Simpson Park.
“Here in the Craig area, we just don’t have a lot,” Bauman said of fisheries. “We have the Yampa River and some of the smaller lakes. … Especially early on in the season, there just isn’t a lot of low-elevation fishing opportunity here in the county without traveling quite some distance to Browns Park.”
Bauman said the improvements to the oxbow pond should make for a sustainable habitat for rainbow trout.
“Rainbows are primarily insectivores, so they’ll be feeding on the insects and aquatic life that is here. This is a very long-established oxbow,” he said.
Boulger said the oxbow, which has been named Glen Sherman Park in honor of one of the project’s donors, is now open to anglers ages 16 and younger and 64 and older, as well as people with disabilities. Fishing is open from sunrise to sunset, regardless of the museum’s hours of operation.
“We’re going to let it be open whenever, unless we have problems,” Boulger said. “There’s usually someone here on site. We want to keep it open as much as possible.”
Boulger said it wasn’t long after the pond was stocked Thursday that the fish began jumping.
“It was cool to watch that after five years of the community pitching in to help with the project,” she said. “It was a fulfilling moment.”
For more information about Wyman Museum or Glen Sherman Park, call 824-6346.
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