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Lakes stay busy despite season’s rainy. wet start

Staff writer

Rain and cold didn’t dampen the holiday weekend as visitors turned out at both the county’s lakes.

Lake superintendant Isaac Hett said campsites at Marion County Lake were at 80% capacity.

Most visitors stuck it out all weekend despite temperatures in the low 60s and storms that bought up to 1 ½ inches of rain Sunday and Monday.

“This is the first Memorial Day where I have had to wear jeans and a jacket all weekend,” Hett said.

Cold weather meant fewer boats at the county lake, but croppie, catfish and bass still were pretty good, Hett said.

McPherson resident Cody Peavy and his son, Kohen, 5, spent the weekend fishing near the family’s camper at the county lake.

Kohen practiced casting off lines like he had been taught.

His efforts were rewarded Saturday, with his first catch, a seven- to eight-inch, large-mouth, that Kohen landed with the help of cricket lure and a Spiderman pole.

Kohen was so proud he called his grandma.

This is the first year Peavy has taken Kohen fishing, but they have visited several other area lakes before giving Marion County Lake a try.

Peavy couldn’t believe his son’s luck.

“He’s cast it a few times at each lake, but this is the first time he’s caught anything,” Peavy said. “He is pretty excited about it, too.”

The bass may have been Kohen’s first, but had battle scars from past snares.

“It had a worm lure in its mouth. I was surprised to see it breathing,” Peavy said. “We pulled that lure out of its throat and turned it back into the water.”

Kohen blushed at the attention, then swapped his small pole for a bigger one and, eager for more practice, asked for a frog jig.

Just up the road, near a campground at the county lake, Colby Sparrow, El Dorado, and his son, Myles, 7, also were enjoying father-son bonding with a game of baseball.

Myles has been playing for more than a year.

Sparrow and his family have been regular visitors at the county lake since the 2000s.

“It’s the best place ever,” said Sparrow. “It’s God’s country.”

At Marion Reservoir

Kevin McCoy, assistant lake supervisor also had a busy holiday week.

Nearly 100% of its campsites were booked well in advance of this week, but about 30 flooded after Thursday’s storms.

Campsites that weren’t under water mostly were occupied. Others moved in as visitors left.

A gauge near Hillsboro recorded 4 inches of precipitation Thursday, said Brad Ketcham, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Wichita.

McCoy said high water in Mud Creek flowed back to the reservoir’s spillway.

“We backed up almost 18 feet, the water came from up downstream,” he said, stressed that the Corps of Engineers had not let water out of the dam.

“We’re not releasing a single drop,” he said. “All gates are closed.”

Jeff and wife, Cindy Tarr, Emporia; Cindy Nichols, Salina; Greg Rawlings and wife, Janean, Lamonte; Randy and Teresa Rice, Madison, and Mark and Nyla Gibbons, of Toledo, Ohio, huddled around a campfire Saturday evening as temperatures dipped in the 50s.

The Rawlings have been coming to Marion for nine years to enjoy “family and dutch oven cooking.”

Greg, Cindy and Teresa are siblings; the rest are “the outlaws,” the gang explained.

Marion is convenient because it is halfway for most of them.

They group was mostly there to visit and enjoy the atmosphere; no one wanted to fish.

“We might fish around in the cooler a little bit,” someone said as the group burst out laughing.

Last modified June 3, 2021

 

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