Indian Trail Improvement District will hold its first-ever catch-and-release fishing event at the M-1 Impoundment on Saturday, Feb. 1 and Sunday, Feb. 2 in an ongoing effort to promote more outdoor activities for residents.
“It’s just an open fishing event,” ITID Executive Director Burgess Hanson told the Town-Crier, explaining that the district held its first-ever fishing catch-and-release event at the M-2 Impoundment on Nov. 29. “The last one, at the M-2 Impoundment, had a low turnout throughout the day. However, the M-1 Impoundment is better with more fish and better fishing there, so we hope to have a higher turnout. We’re opening it on Saturday and Sunday. Our goal is to make this a regular occurrence, where it’s not so much an event, and just becomes a weekend program.”
The M-1 Impoundment is larger and more remote than the M-2, located in the northwest corner of ITID, almost surrounded by the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area.
“The M-1 is about a three-mile drive from the paved road, along the M-O Canal to get out there,” Hanson said. “It’s a beautiful setting, so even if you don’t fish, it’s a nice area just to go out and see wildlife and nature without any homes or structures around.”
No structures, of course, other than five giant pumps there that draw stormwater from ITID during rain events.
Hanson said that the district will put out signs so no one gets lost. Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue officials will be alerted in case there is a need for their assistance. “We will have staff there so [attendees] will know where to go,” he said. “Eventually, the goal is, now that the board has approved more recreational components within the Parks & Recreation Department, we’ll do some guided nature trails there. The new parks director has already been in touch with [the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission] proposing to coordinate with them to do guided nature programming at Corbett when it’s not hunting season.”
Hanson added that Parks & Recreation Director Elizabeth Ricci has some other ideas for programming during school spring break that focus on outdoor activities that could include nature trips to the M-1 Impoundment.
“There’s wildlife out there,” Hanson said. “There are alligators out there. That’s why we have a staff person for this.”
He said the stormwater crew that maintains the area has mowed the bank for easy access to the water.
“Like any place, you always have to watch where you step, and keep vigilant about potential wildlife, whether it’s snakes, gators or other wildlife,” he said, adding that he expects a bigger turnout over the two-day event. “The first one, we were more constrained in publicizing it because we didn’t want to be inundated with a large crowd, but we feel that the fishing is better at the M-1 and more people would want to go there because it is much more isolated.”
While he hopes for more people, there will also be more time.
“The fact that we’re opening it two days in a row, we hope that also works,” Hanson said. “We anticipate nice weather. It’s supposed to be cooler this weekend.”
The event could evolve into a regular weekend opening of the impoundment for unsupervised fishing.
“When we feel a little more comfortable with everything, that’s how we’re going to approach it,” Hanson said. “The M-2 is a little different because we do store equipment there. It is an active area… Of the two, we’ll probably just continue with the M-1 because from the feedback that we’ve received. It seems like more people would come to the M-1 than the M-2, even though the M-2 is closer. We’ll adapt to what the residents want.”
He added that the parks director has been in touch with local fishing stores to get the word out.
“We’d like to see more involvement from them in the future, and the goal would be to perhaps have some type of fishing tournament,” Hanson said.
The impoundment will be open Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are no public restrooms available. Participants must abide by all ITID rules and Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission regulations. All those attending will be required to sign a release waiver. No driving or parking on the berm is allowed, and a valid Florida Fishing License is required.
Fishing is catch-and-release and there is no entry into the water or use of flotation devices in the water (including no boats, kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddle boards, wading, swimming or floating). No alcohol or drugs and no hunting is allowed.
To get to the site, start from Seminole Pratt Whitney Road at Hamlin Blvd. Head West on Hamlin Blvd. to 190th Avenue North. Take 190th Avenue north to 94th Street North. Go west through the yellow gate and continue 2.6 miles to the impoundment area.