Hollecker to be drained to improve fishing opportunities

Brendan Heidner
Thursday, December 5, 2019
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After the Hollecker winterkill two years ago, the lake will finally be drained this winter to prepare better fishing for the 2020 season.

On behalf of Walleyes Unlimited, Craig Wagner appeared before the Dawson County commissioners at their regular meeting on Tuesday morning.

Over the years, the Dawson County commissioners; Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Walleyes Unlimited have aimed to make Hollecker a family-friendly fishery. As a community group of anglers, Walleyes Unlimited serves the county and FWP as an advisor for the fishing community.

Since the winterkill a few years ago, the conversation has been whether to drain the lake and start the fishery over or not. After some consideration, Walleyes Unlimited recommended postponing the draining of Hollecker due to some improved fishing that went on, especially during ice fishing season last year.

Now with an overpopulation of “junk fish,” Wagner mentioned they would like to move forward with drainingsooner rather than later.

“We want to do it now so that everything that is in there dies,” he said.

As Wagner and FWP Fisheries Manager, Mike Backes brought to attention, Hollecker’s water source comes from the Buffalo Rapids irrigation canal which slowly brings in non-target species through the pipe. Screens have been put in place to prevent this from happening more, but it still does not stop some fish in their larval stage from coming in.

Although the situation may cause frustration to some winter users of the pond, Backes noted the advantage of draining it in the winter.

“You don’t quite get the quality of control that you do in the winter with a freeze,” he said.

Due to the canal from which Hollecker draws its water, this is a process that may have to occur every three to five years in order to sustain a quality fishery.

“Like any fishery, you need to have some management,” Backes said.

In the effort to improve the fishing for the next few seasons, FWP continues to look for community support from individual people and groups like Walleyes Unlimited

“We like to get that community involvement as we tend to get a better product,” Backes said.

The Dawson County Commissioners voted to approve the draining of Hollecker to move forward with starting the fishery over. As a result, Wagner noted the lake may need to be closed during the draining period as a safety precaution.

Despite the closure throughout the winter, Wagner has high hopes that the process will bring better quality fishing in 2020 and the following few seasons.

“We’re looking forward to some good fishing for the kids,” Wagner said.

The Dawson County commissioners’ next meeting will take place on Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m.

Reach Brendan Heidner at news@rangerreview.com.