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Base fishing pond supports new wildlife, open for families

Base fishing pond.

Clayton Porter, a southwest fish biologist at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC), releases a fish into the base fishing pond, June 25, 2020, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The ODWC stocked approximately 100 fish into the pond. (U.S. Air Force by Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell)

Base fishing pond.

U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Leard, the 97th Air Mobility Wing commander, holds a red-eared slider turtle before releasing it into the base fishing pond, June 25, 2020, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will continue stocking the pond as they continue to get more fish throughout the year. (U.S. Air Force by Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell)

Base fishing pond.

An Airman assigned to the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron (CES) drives a bulldozer during construction on the base fishing pond parking lot, June 25, 2020, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The 97th CES partnered with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to create a catch and release fishing pond on base. (U.S. Air Force by Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell)

Base fishing pond.

From left, John Perry, a fisheries technician at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC), hands Clayton Porter, a southwest fish biologist at ODWC, a net full of fish at the base fishing pond, June 25, 2020, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Some of the fish that were stocked into the pond include channel catfish, hybrid sunfish and a turtle. (U.S. Air Force by Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell)

Base fishing pond.

A space for a new fishing pond parking lot is cleared out by the 97th Civil Engineer Squadron, June 25, 2020, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. The fish pond has been under construction for more than a year. (U.S. Air Force by Staff Sgt. Cody Dowell)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

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.