Lake open to public salvage before work begins
GRIDLEY — Over the past few years, Gridley City Lake has diminished from one of the best small fishing lakes in Kansas to a poor-quality lake with a high number of large carp competing with the game fish and spoiling the water quality. Now, the city of Gridley — with the help of Coffey County, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, and the Walter S. and Evan C. Jones Foundation — have formed an alliance to rehabilitate the 33-acre lake and recreate the high-quality sport fishery the lake once offered.

The lake was opened to public salvage on August 9, and all state and city creel and length limits have been rescinded. Anglers may use seines, snagging, bow and arrow, and gigs to harvest fish as the lake is drawn down over the next several weeks.

On the morning of Sept. 10, the lake will be totally drained. A fence will be placed just below the dam to hold the fish back, and the public will be invited to pick up all the fish they want. A city permit will still be required to harvest fish at the lake. Seasonal and daily permits are available at the lake iron ranger, city hall, the grocery store, and the gas station in Gridley.

When the lake is finished draining and begins to dry out, heavy equipment will be brought in to build fishing piers, deepen many areas, and build up islands. This will create more shoreline habitat and deeper water, as well as diminish wave erosion on the shoreline. The rehabilitation project will improve water quality and eliminate unwanted fish species from the lake and watershed. Brush piles and rock piles will be added to create more fish habitat.

If weather permits, the earthwork should be completed by late winter, and the lake will be ready for refilling and stocking in early spring. Channel catfish, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, redear sunfish, walleye, smallmouth bass, and wiper, as well as fathead minnows for forage, will be stocked. The lake will be closed for as long as two years while the fish grow, and they will be fed to increase growth and carrying capacity.

For more information, phone 620-432-4857.