POCAHONTAS - Fishermen who don't want to stop fishing when their limit is met should head to Lizard Lake in Pocahontas County, where fishing regulations have been relaxed.
The 275-acre lake, with a 7-foot maximum depth, holds bullheads, common carp, buffalo, fathead minnows and yellow perch. Until July 1, an angler with a valid license can take any number, any size fish. The use of nets and seines is allowed while the fishing regulations are suspended; however, any type of stupefying substance such as dynamite, poison or electroshocking devices is not allowed.
The lake is north of the intersection of County Road C49 and 320th Avenue, about 15 miles southeast of Pocahontas.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, in hand with a Lizard Lake Committee in the Pocahontas area, is working on a major renovation of the shallow, natural lake to eliminate rough fish, re-establish aquatic plants, replace the lake outlet structure and install a fish barrier to prevent rough fish from getting back into the lake once the renovation is complete.
"They're in the process of taking the rough fish out and draining the lake," said Tom Grau, director of the Pocahontas County Economic Development. "After two, two-and-a-half years, it will be restocked and will be a clean lake."
He said Diamond Lake near Lake Okoboji was restored in this manner and has won national awards for its cleanliness.
Margene Bunda, Pocahontas County auditor and a member of the restoration committee, said the project is moving forward thanks in large part area residents. "People in the Gilmore City and Palmer area have been very supportive and worked very hard."
At one time - the 1920s and 1930s - a Lizard Lake Resort offered a full range of recreational activities, including a roller skating rink, a dance hall, pool hall, restaurant and ball park.
Today the lake offers a small campground, restrooms, picnic area, beach and accessible pier.
A DNR news release said "The renovation project will begin around the outlet of Lizard Lake this spring. The existing outlet structure will be removed so water levels can be lowered to create mud flat conditions for two summers. Draining the lake will eliminate the rough fish, consolidate bottom sediments and re-establish valuable aquatic vegetation. When the water levels return to normal, yellow perch and northern pike will be stocked."
The goal of this renovation project, the DNR advises, "is to restore and maintain the health of these shallow lakes by drawing down the water to simulate natural drought cycles."
When Lizard Lake is refilled, the lake will be clean and clear and will be more valuable to fish, wildlife and recreation.
Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org