Residents taking advantage of fishing salvage in Newton

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NEWTON, Kan. (KAKE) -

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism issued a fishing salvage Thursday in Newton due to low water levels after the dam deflated in Sand Creek.

The order allows residents in Newton to fish in six locations between 1st and 12th streets which are:

"Athletic near 1st St., Parking lot off of W. 9th on the west side of Sand Creek, 12th street bridge on the west side, 12th street bridge on the east side, Ash St. bridge and 8th street area, 4th St. boat ramp," as per an email sent out by the city to it's employees.

In the official release from the department it says residents can fish in those areas with a "rod and reel, by hand or by net". The release says the spots will be designated by posted signs and as long as the sign is posted, they can fish in those ways.

The order will last until they are able to repair the dam, which the department officials say will take a couple months. The dam has been used for 30 years and the Newton city engineer and director of public works said it had a failure.

"All the rain we had was causing it to raise and lower significantly," Suzanne Loomis said.

Loomis said they call it the bladder and after it was it's long time of usage that caused it to break down and deflate.

According to Loomis, the department and city want people to catch the fish because they won't survive in those areas any way with only small pools of water throughout the creek.

"They're out of oxygen because the heat is going to deplete that water that's in the little pools and those fish are not going to live," she said.

With that much standing water, and the possibility of dead fish, she said the smell is also a concern.

"It could be fish, it can also be just the stagnant water, it's mud, that kind of thing it could be a little bit smelly to start with," Loomis said.

However, she said they expect that water to evaporate and people to help catch the fish. The Bristol family was out at the creek catching fish and their son Ronen was trying to catch them with his hands, something his dad Derek said he loves to do.

"He loves to fish," Derek Bristol said. "So we brought nets and we're just trying to catch some fish caught a couple and caught some by hand."

With the low areas of water trapping the fish, Ronen Bristol said he caught his fair share Friday afternoon when they were out there.

"About 5," he said.

His father said they go fishing a lot during the summer because it's something they all love to do.

"Just being outside," he said. "Everyone likes to be outside and mess around get dirty, and it's cheap, I guess that helps too."

The Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism officials said once the dam is rebuilt and the water refills they plan to restock the creek with fish.