Although the climate was not nearly frigid enough to keep shacks or anglers from falling through the ice (at least until recently), the Newton City Council on Jan. 16 approved a resolution authorizing ice fishing on Cardinal Pond, the city’s only fishable pond in its parks system.
Without a maintained access point or a dedicated parking lot for visitors, only the most dedicated anglers will be able to ice fish on Cardinal Pond. The idea to pursue ice fishing was introduced in September 2022 to the city’s park board by Newton Community Services Director Brian Laube.
Cardinal Pond is in the Arbor Estates subdivision, which is located south of North 11th Avenue East. However, this street does not allow street parking. If anyone wants to fish the pond, they will have to park their car a ways away before making the trek to the pond. Laube has said ice fishers are used to this.
According to city council documents, the pond was built as a stormwater detention system for Arbor Estates. In 2020, the pond was stocked with fish by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which recommended to city staff to seek council approval before ice fishing was allowed on the waters.
The ice fishing rules adopted by Newton City Council this past week closely resembles the rules used by Ankeny.
Signs will be posted stating that ice fishing is allowed, but people would be on the ice at their own risk. The City of Newton will not provide reports or opinions on the safety of the ice during the ice fishing seasons. Iowa DNR fishing rules and regulations still apply to all fishing activities on the pond.
Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the ice and the initial access point will be walk-in only from Agnes Patterson Park, as no off-street parking is currently provided. Staff will also not provide plowed access to the primitive-style pond. All trash must be removed by users; no trash receptacles will be provided.
As a recreational opportunity, ice fishing poses little to no maintenance and would provide an off-season activity when most parks are closed. City staff also see opportunities for education, such as a children’s fishing clinic or other similar programs to be held on the pond.