Neely wants trout back at Lake Pawhuska

Robert Smith

Pawhuska City Manager Dave Neely said last week he hopes to be able to convince the state of Oklahoma to approve a resumption of the stocking of Lake Pawhuska with trout.

The Lake used to have both rainbow and brown trout, there was an annual trout derby in February, and Lake Pawhuska was considered a popular destination for trout anglers. But no more, and Neely said he intends to make an effort to change that. He said that he is going to make a request of fisheries officals with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

“It’s a do-able thing for us. I think that’s something we can get done,” Neely said, commenting that he would like for Pawhuska to be able to hold youth and adult trout-fishing events, and begin the process of attracting the trout-angling crowd back to Osage County.

“A friend of mine, when he found out I was coming over here, said, ‘I hope you get the trout back in the lake,’” Neely related. He took over Aug. 1 as Pawhuska’s city manager, and was formerly county assessor of Nowata County. He explained that he and a member of the Pawhuska City Council had just attended a Lake Development Summit with state officials, including Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, who is the state’s executive point person on tourism issues.

Neely said he would like to see the city do more at Bluestem Lake, as well, and he added that Pawhuska may need to address infrastructure items such as boat ramps.

Pinnell earlier this year launched a promotional development called the Oklahoma Fishing Trail to support fishing as a major tourist draw for the state. He was quoted in a news release as saying he wants Oklahoma to be a Top 10 tourism state and “the No. 1 fishing state in the nation.”

On another topic, Neely said the city had just advertised for bids for the Kihekah Avenue water and sewer project that must be completed before the streetscape grant project can move ahead. He said there would be a pre-bid meeting Nov. 20 and bids are to be opened Dec. 4. The water and sewer line project will begin sometime after Jan. 1, 2020, he said.