Base fishing pond supports new wildlife, open for families

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Breanna Klemm
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs Office

The 97th Civil Engineer Squadron partnered with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to create a catch and release fishing pond, which opened June 25, 2020 at Altus AFB.

The fish pond has been under construction for more than a year. During this time, Airmen from the 97th CES have filled in parts of the pond that were empty before, shaping it into a functional fishing area that will be open seven days a week for anyone with base access.

“As a wildlife biologist and someone who loves the outdoors and outdoor recreation there is no better way to spend a day then to be at a pond with your family,” said David Wallace, the 97th CES installation management flight chief. “We should always look for opportunities to provide outdoor recreation within the confines of our base. It allows for entertainment and there is an educational aspect to it as well. Our environmental team continues to look at adding other outdoor recreational venues as well. The best is yet to come.”

The 97th CES has taken this time to clear the area surrounding the pond along with an area which will soon become a parking lot for fishers to utilize. Airmen from the 97th CES continue to provide Airmen and their families with an environmentally sound recreational fishing pond on base. 

“The 97th CES ‘Dirt Boyz’ are currently working on constructing the parking area as well as the road going to the pond,” said Wallace. “Plumbers from the 97th CES filled the pond using the raw water line from Tom Steed Reservoir. Additionally, the environmental team stocked the pond with fish by contacting the ODWC, establishing a partnership for years to come.” 

The ODWC stocked approximately 100 fish into the pond. Some of the fish that were put into the pond include channel catfish, hybrid sunfish and a red-eared slider turtle. The ODWC will continue stocking the pond as they continue to get more fish throughout the year. 

Catch and release fishing will be enforced at the base pond so there will be enough fish for all Airmen and their families to enjoy. Additionally, anglers from 16 to 64 years of age must carry an Oklahoma state fishing license with them while at the pond. 

“Though I am not a great fisherman, having a place you can sit and relax with the kids and see their joy with a fish on a hook just fills a parent with joy,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Randy Kay II, the 97th AMW command chief. “It allows our Airman and families a nice atmosphere to relax and have fun while catching and releasing fish.”

For more information on the fishing pond or other outdoor activities, contact Outdoor Recreation at 580-481-7696.