By Tara Mathews
Members of the Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club removed the old fish barrier grate, which could no longer be serviced, and installed a new one on Howard Lake, just west of Lions Park, Oct. 26.
The barrier will keep carp and other rough fish from coming through the culvert, according to Rod Warner, one of the project volunteers.
Rough fish, such as carp and dogfish, are dangerous to the native fish of the lake because they are aggressive eating fish that diminish food supply to native game fish. Most of them have no natural enemy, therefore when they adjust to the ecosystem, it is nearly impossible to reduce the population.
The previous barrier was in place for 40 years and had been fixed and rebuilt until there wasn’t enough to rebuild, Warner said.
“A couple years ago, we had to get together with the wrestling team and remove rocks that people had thrown in and clogged the culvert,” Warner said.
To prevent future rock clogs, the new grate includes a double lock.
The Sportsmen’s Club had been conversing about replacement of the barrier for a couple years when Warner’s neighbors, Dan Hrabe and Gene Palma, spoke to him about the project, Warner commented.
Hrabe and Palma are stainless steel fabricators, and offered to build the grate for material cost only.
The Howard Lake Sportsmen’s Club paid for materials, which cost about $2,000; Jim Walker and Berwin Schmidt removed the old grate Oct. 24; and Warner, Hrabe, Palma, and Denny Decker installed the new grate.
“We had a lot of volunteers for this, I even borrowed a hammer drill from Mages Truck and Trailer for the project,” Warner said.
The new grate will also keep out debris, and will be cleaned almost daily in the spring.
The grate is slanted to prevent fish from getting trapped on top, as they had in the past when the water was high.
This spring, the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA will be removing the rocks in front of the barrier, to make it easier to clean the grate daily, according to Warner.
“The Sportsmen’s Club has good projects going for Howard Lake right now,” said Warner, “and this spring they are stocking the lake with walleye fingerlings.”
Anyone interested in joinging the HL Sportsmen’s Club may contact Ken Durdahl, secretary, at (320) 543 3372 or Joe’s Sport Shop in Howard Lake.