November 27, 2022

Hooked on ice fishing? Cardinal Pond could be next

Park board support what could be a new rec opportunity in Newton

Ice fishing is being looked at as a serious recreational opportunity at Cardinal Pond in Newton. Park board voted 5-0 in support of the idea, giving city staff the go-ahead to pursue the rec opportunity.

Brian Laube hates winter, but he loves ice fishing. Knowing others enjoy the cold climate hobby as well, the community services director for the City of Newton sought support from park board members on Sept. 21 about allowing ice fishing opportunities on the city’s only fishable pond in its parks system.

Cardinal Pond does currently allow fishing, but only the most dedicated anglers can access its waters. Located in the Arbor Estates subdivision, the three-acre pond does not have a maintained access point nor a dedicated parking lot for visitors. Plus, the nearby North 11th Avenue East does not allow street parking.

If the city council ultimately decides to permit ice fishing on Cardinal Pond, it is unlikely those accommodations will change unless staff decide a parking lot is necessary. Laube said the long, out-of-the-way walk probably will not deter any committed ice fishermen who are already used to the tough conditions.

Even when Laube wasn’t involved with parks, getting ice fishing allowed on a pond in town has been a goal of his for the past 30 years.

The pond itself is about 17 feet deep and is stocked with large mouth bass, blue gills and catfish. Laube said an recent inspection of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources showed the large mouth bass population is healthy and that perhaps the bluegill population may need restocked.

In a presentation to park board members, Laube said one of the things he likes about ice fishing is the chance to get outside in the wintertime. He showed a number of pictures of the ice fishing shelters, the outdoor scenery and the hauls of fish caught from a hole in the ice.

Ice fishing would bring new a recreational opportunity and an off-season activity to Newton parks, and it could open up more youth fishing derby events or other activities. From a city staff standpoint, ice fishing requires very little maintenance. The costs to anglers are also rather low.

To get the city to allow ice fishing on Cardinal Pond, Laube wanted to first start with a recommendation from park board. If they feel it is a worthy recreational opportunity to explore, he will pursue more information to set up rules and regulations and speak with the right people.

For example, Laube wants to have input from Newton Fire Chief Jarrod Wellik about the safety issues. Laube has already spoken with the city’s insurance carrier, who provided guidelines and suggestions for the city to follow. The cost to the city’s premium would raise only a few pennies every year.

“Should city council give us the go-ahead to offer this we would of course have some kind of signage at the pond,” Laube said to the park board members. “I’d have to work with our staff as far as promoting this new rec opportunity and just safety, rules and different things like that.”

Park board members voted 5-0 in support of adding ice fishing to Cardinal Pond.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext 560 or at

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.