Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 26, 2014

Structure Added To Crawford Pond

By Steve Anderson | Feb 16, 2012

If life’s journey takes you down County Road G-36 as you head toward Highway 218, I encourage you to go a half mile on past the interchange and take a look at the WCCB’s latest addition of structure to Crawford Pond. This is particularly true if you are one of the many people, like me, that feel blessed to have the owner allow us to fish there, and thus are interested in another excellent place to try.

This latest structure, put on the ice on Valentine’s Day, consists of stacks of pallets banded together and donated to us by Engineered Building Design. We attached Christmas Trees donated by Ace-N-More using number nine wire, as well as three reject concrete culverts to double as habitat and effective anchors.

Through the years, likely you have observed these piles of various materials placed to improve the habitat on Crawford Pond. Quite a bit of it has been located in the deeper water, acting as fish attractors during the colder months of the year. The fact is that, through the many years, I personally have harvested several meals of nice bluegills and red-eared sunfish around these piles.

Our latest addition was placed much farther south in Crawford Pond. The water there is about 8 feet deep, meaning that these particular piles will come quite near the surface. We anticipate the crappies spawning near them this spring, followed by the largemouth bass and finally the catfish. Once spawning has occurred, they will be very attractive to smaller fish, aquatic insects and the fish that eat them all summer long.

Unlike other years, we did NOT have to wait long for the structure to fall through the ice. In fact, we were still wiring the last Christmas trees onto the second pile of material when we began to hear the sound of the water rising up onto the ice of the first one. This first pile was within 10 feet of the one we were working on, causing the rapidly rising water to soon reach our feet. As the three of us were hustling to get everything wired on, I estimated that the ice would likely sag but not break for a few days. I was wrong yet again!

It was only a few seconds later when a crack in the ice became extremely apparent- a crack that went all of the way around both piles. Uh oh! Nobody had to tell anybody to back up as the water rose over about a minute. All three of us stood back and watched as the ice buckled and both structures fell in! Frankly, from the safe distance we were it was an amazing force of nature to watch. The only thing lost out of the entire thing was a pair of pliers. Oh yeah, and we had to go get a third culvert and place it farther away to make use of the rest of the materials we wanted to sink.

I love this sport, but my respect for ice and my fear of the cold water under it means that ice fishing season is over for me barring a major cold spell. Even this weekend, I was amazed at how much difference there was in ice thickness between various ponds. As an example, Crawford Pond had 5 inches on Sunday while a private pond I went to had only 2. Several people in Iowa have already fallen through far thicker ice than that, and some of them have drowned. I will pass and encourage you to do the same.

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