Dead Horse Ranch opens new lagoons<br><i>New fishing resources stocked with rainbow trout</i>

Staff photo by Philip Wright

GREAT exercise opportunities are provided by trails around the lagoons at Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

"With all three lagoons combined, we have about 21 surface acres," said Justin Swiger, park ranger.

Swiger said the new lagoons are drawing more than anglers.

"Every morning we've had bald eagles and blue herons," he said.

The recent stockings of rainbow trout in the two new lagoons are luring in a lot of fishing enthusiasts.

"We get a lot of retired people out here fishing," said Swiger.

The old lagoon has not been restocked since it was drawn down for repairs. The bass, largemouth and smallmouth, and catfish that came from the old lagoon were put into the new middle lagoon. The third lagoon has been stocked with trout only. The new lagoons received 2,100 trout each during the recent stockings, according to Swiger.

People fishing for trout must have a trout stamp, which is available at most fishing-gear retailers. In addition, anglers need a state fishing license.

The trout stamp allows a daily limit of six rainbow trout per fisherman. Children under the age of 13 may take a limit of three trout without a stamp.

The new facilities provide handicapped fishing piers on both of the new lagoons. The upper lagoon has three handicapped-accessible piers and the lower lagoon has six. The lower lagoon also has a new boat ramp and floating dock.

Boats are restricted to non-motorized craft up to 16 feet. All boats must be Coast Guard approved, and approved personal floatation devices must be provided for each passenger. Boats must be off the lagoons no less than 30 minutes before the listed closing time.

Access to the lagoons is the same as to the park. Each vehicle, with up to five adults, must pay an entry fee of $5. That fee allows access to the full park, including the lagoon and boat ramp. An annual pass is available for people who will visit the park frequently. Swiger said the pass is $45 and allows unlimited visits.

"Nine visits, and the pass is paid for," he said.

The new lagoons also have several new picnic pavilions, which Swiger said are available to be held with reservations. Portable toilets are available now, but will be replaced with permanent restrooms when the next phase of construction is finished.

For information, call 634-5283.

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