'The Muck' eyed as possible youth-only fishing spot

Invasive goldfish to be removed before stocking with brown trout
By Jordan Bailey | Aug 25, 2014
Photo by: Jordan Bailey

Belfast — The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is looking into reclaiming Kirby Lake ("The Muck") and stocking it with trout for a youth fishing spot.

Children under age 15 would be permitted to fish there, as well as those with complimentary fishing licenses, such as disabled veterans over age 70.

Warden Chris Dyer of IFW requested approval from the city council at a meeting Aug. 19 to develop a proposal to enhance Kirby Lake, which is on city property at the corner of Miller Street and Lincolnville Avenue, before the department would deal with invasive species and stock the pond with brown trout. Parks and Recreation Director Norm Poirier said the city would be responsible for some dredging and clean-up.

Dyer said the department would develop the reclamation proposal with cost efficiency in mind. To lower the water for the initial feasibility assessment, he suggested coordinating with the city water district or fire department, which have to test their pumps once a month.

For excavating work, he said he would try to find people with equipment who would either volunteer or offer a reduced rate for their time because they have a passion for increasing youth outdoor recreation opportunities.

"There are currently no youth-only fishing opportunities in Waldo County," Dyer said, adding that it could be a place for youth fishing tournaments.

The state would then deal with invasive species and stock with brown trout on an annual basis.

"The state could dump trout in there right now," Dyer said, "but they wouldn't survive [because invasive species are present] and you wouldn't be able to cast a line without it getting snarled in something."

Dyer said there is a natural spring that feeds into the lake, but right now it is covered by a thick layer of weeds. Cleaning up the weeds would allow fresh water to flow into the system.

A preliminary probe showed the lake contains invasive goldfish, bull-headed catfish, and several species of shiners.

The biggest problem, Dyer said, is the goldfish. People often dump goldfish in water bodies when they no longer have a use for them as pets. Once outside the confines of a bowl or aquarium, they grow much larger — do an image search for "Lake Tahoe goldfish" — and tend to take over the ecosystem. Goldfish contain a toxin that prevents local predators from eating them.

According to the global invasive species database, goldfish waste stimulates cyanobacterial growth and algal blooms; their bottom-feeding methods resuspend nutrients, also contributing to algal blooms; and they feed on eggs, larvae and adults of native species.

Dealing with the invasive species would also enhance the native snapping turtle population in the pond, Dyer said.

All councilors supported the development of a proposal by IFW, as long as costs are kept to a minimum.

Councilor Mary Mortier said the project should be undertaken "as if we were spending money from our own wallets."

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