Matt Armstrong of The Villages Community Development Districts, Recreation & Parks Department discussed the status of fishing in the retention ponds at the March meeting.
Matt discussed the
- New fishing excursions on Lake Sumter Landing
- Guided kayaking excursions on Lake Sumter Landing
- New fishing map showing fishable retention ponds and areas around ponds that are approved for fishing: http://www.districtgov.org/departments/Recreation/images/FishingMap.pdf
- Retention pond fish stocking is ongoing
- Call Neighborhood Watch if you see improper behavior at a pond: 352-753-0550
- Matt responded to a question “Fishing the retention ponds is not restricted to residents”
Matt left the meeting with questions that he wanted to explore with John Rohan, Head of the Recreation Department. Rohan provided this information to the Freshwater Fishing Club the following day:
Fishing update. Randy, I heard Matt did a great job at the meeting last night. Sorry I missed it. Matt has provided me with some comments/questions that I have added responses to. Our department appreciates and applauds the great working relationship and partnership we have in promoting and growing the fishing program in our community. Fishing as you know is near and dear to me as I have been doing it since I could walk. Your club’s impact on Camp Villages participants is an experience they will remember for years to come. If we need to get together to chat further on any of the below matters or any fishing items please let me know.
- Catch and release – how to enforce? Informed to call CW or Recreation. Largest number of questions came on this topic. Enforce vs recommended – Randy there will be no enforcement or allocation of resources by District staff on this ‘courtesy rule” moving forward . If there is no violation of Florida law, fisherman can legally take fish under the Florida Freshwater Fishing rules. We can’t supersede state law. The District has no legal standing here. If folks think there is a violation of law they can call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission at 1-888-404-3922. I would be cautious here using valuable state law enforcement resources to manage such a pity area as they have much bigger fish to fry throughout the region. Not to mention other unintended consequences you all may bring to them creating even another layer that could negatively impact this program. If there is an issue of damaging district property or other concerns outside this area please call Community Watch or local law enforcement.
- Net fishing – someone seen at Bonita. See response above
- Golf view pond – green substance on bottom of pond and smell? Can a light be added at dock like there was before at the 2 old docks? – This pond is dawn to dusk. The lights actually attract more bugs requiring more maintenance to the docks. There are no plans to add lights here. Homeowners in the area do not like seeing folks fishing after dark. It is an attractor for outside folks to come in as well. As far as sludge, this pond allows treated effluent into it along with rain water. Please keep reminding your folks these ponds are not ponds but water retention basins designed to manage storm water and other non-potable water sources for irrigation and flood control. The District Property Management Department treats and manages these water bodies as required by approved budgets, our water engineers and water management districts.
- Adding signs about catch and release at each fishable location? I informed him about Rec website and where to find guidelines. We are not expending money for this project. We have hundreds of water retention basins. There is a cost and on-going maintenance. We use the website, media and radio to share this information. Once again it is not a violation of law if a licensed or eligible fisherman takes fish in accordance with state freshwater fishing laws.
- What is stocked in ponds? Can Rec stock when pelicans are not in season? I informed them of what we have stocked. Was not sure about pelican question.Most of the water retention basins have a variety of fish – Bass, Catfish and Pan Fish. Some ponds have carp to help with algae growth. We don’t stock tilapia but those may appear also. Birds feeding on fish is part of the ecological and environmental circle of life- just like a fish kill. All of which occur in almost every body of water in the state. We are not stocking ponds every time one of these natural occurring events happen.
- When is next lottery for fishing excursion? It will be sometime in May. Stay tuned for dates.
- Fishing spot in Pennecamp not on map or listed on recommended fishing spot. We will look into. As mentioned, there are hundreds of water retention basins in the community it is impossible to have a useful map with all of these basins on there they may have fish. Let’s highlight the ones we want to share. We have just spent money, time and energy redoing the new fishing map and information. We will update this map once a year if necessary.Let me know if this information provides better clarity for you and your club members.John [Rohan]
Co-webmaster: Jerry Lester