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DNR, Take a Kid Fishing to team up on south shore fishing pond for kids

The Village at South Shore is going to feature Bemidji's first fishing pond for kids.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has agreed to stock the pond and Take a Kid Fishing is constructing walkways from which kids can fish.

The pond, located along First Street East, is the largest in the south shore redevelopment area.

Steve Young, who has been leading the project, said the idea for a kids' fishing pond stemmed from a conversation with representatives with DNR Fisheries about a year ago.

"Despite Bemidji's fishing enthusiasm, there is not really a great place for kids to go and catch pan fish," he said.

Supporters of the project looked at ponds throughout the city. A DNR official suggested they look at the ponds in the Village at South Shore area.

Engineering plans were obtained and the ponds were tested for oxygen.

This pond was deemed to be the most ideal.

The DNR has committed to stocking the pond. Take a Kid Fishing is building walkways, which will stay near the perimeter of the lake, and the city has agreed to cut the grass, provide a garbage can and keep the area clean.

The walkways will provide a location from which kids can stand and fish and not have to trudge through mud, Young said.

Keeping the grass cut and maintained will ensure the pond is not impenetrable, he noted.

"This will be our test summer, to see how it goes," Young said.

Take a Kid Fishing also will plan an event this summer during which it will hand out free rods and reels to kids.

"It should be ready to go as soon as the DNR stocks it," Young said of the pond, noting that stocking is expected around the first of June. "It's a fun project. It's one of those projects that when you tell people about it, everybody thinks it's a great idea."