City pond to be restocked only for Kids Fishing Day

Pond designed for irrigation, not fish, staff say

Because of space limitations and warmer water temperatures, placement of new fish in the City of Sequim’s Water Reuse Demonstration Site pond will now be limited to one time each spring, according to Kids Fishing Day organizers.

The decision follows ongoing talks between the City of Sequim and the Puget Sound Anglers-North Olympic Peninsula Chapter, co-organizers of the family-friendly April event. The anglers group also host children with disabilities the day before to fish.

Sarah VanAusdle, the City of Sequim’s public works director, said in an interview the pond was designed to hold irrigation, not fish.

“We’ve looked at expanding it, but the park is used so heavily for events and festivals, we want to protect the green space,” she said.

Much of the demonstration site, including the soccer fields north of Carrie Blake Community Park, holds underground reclaimed water from the city’s wastewater treatment plant that’s used for irrigation, VanAusdle said.

A large concern has been the number of dead fish found during warm weather events, she said.

Earlier this year, city staff said summer heat waves caused some rainbow trout to die because of rising temperatures in the pond, and other factors, such as wintering waterfowl eating them.

Dave Croonquist, a board member for the anglers’ group, said in an interview they’ve sought additional funding and grants to enlarge the pond without much luck.

“The cost for enlarging and deepening the pond is quite a bit,” he said.

The group, however, is committed to keep organizing Kids Fishing Day, encouraging children to fish and get outside, Croonquist said.

“It’s a hoot,” he said of the event. “We really enjoy it. We like seeing kids out fishing and we get a lot of joy seeing the smiles on their faces.”

The annual event, held on April 23 this year, offers families the chance to fish for free with ready-to-use poles, help with bait and hooks, and cleaning, icing and bagging each rainbow trout caught. Children 14 and younger can fish for free and without a license in the park year-round with each child limited to keeping the first two fish they catch.

Croonquist said the group will cut back the number of trout they request from Hurd Creek Fish Hatchery to about 1,000 fish in April 2023. That’ll include jumbo 2- to 4-pound trout and about 1-pound trout.

Any fish not caught the Fishing Day weekend will be there for fishing later on, Croonquist said.

Previously, the group had fish delivered a few times in May and in the late fall/early winter, along with April for Kids Fishing Day.

The Puget Sound Anglers chapter used to fund the Fishing Day and local college scholarships with an annual fundraiser, Croonquist said.

The COVID-19 pandemic led the group to scale back, but he said they’ve been able to fund the fish food with donations, in-house raffles, and more.

The club partners with the city to offer free fishing for children, and with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and Hurd Creek Hatchery to raise the trout.

VanAusdle said Kids Fishing Day is a terrific event and they wanted it to continue.

“We want to keep kids hooked on fishing,” Croonquist said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to get outside and hopefully carry (the hobby) on through their whole life.”

For more about the Puget Sound Anglers-North Olympic Peninsula Chapter, its meeting times and other events, visit and