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New venue for a catch

Lori Thene said she had "no idea" that the lake in Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park had a fishing pier. After making the discovery, she decided to take advantage of it last week.

Thene brought her son, Matt, and his friend, Cameron Tuthill, to the park to fish. "We used leftover sausage from breakfast for bait," she said.

The boys were convinced the fish were not biting, but noticed that a group of boys on the other side of the pier were catching a lot of fish. Just as the two were ready to give up, Matt caught a tiny smallmouth bass, carefully removed the hook and put it back in the water.

People who frequent the park for hiking and cross-country skiing are probably not aware that Washington County park officials are calling the body of water, which was a swamp 20 years ago, "Ravine Lake."

A "fishing assessment" in 2001 indicated there were game fish in the lake such as walleye, crappies and smallmouth bass. Fishing blocks were installed around the lake, but it was clear a pier was needed to make the lake more accessible for anglers and those with disabilities, according to John Elhom, parks division planner.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources provided $20,500 for the pier with $10,000 from the county and $100 donated by Cottage Grove VFW Post 8752.

The park's entrance is located south of the County Road 19 interchange over Highway 61 and can be accessed from the frontage road.

The one-day fee to enter the park is $5, and $20 yearlong permits can be purchased using the envelopes at the park entrance to mail the fee to the county parks department.

A permit bought this month and attached to a car window is good until next August.

Permits for the regional and county park can be used at any Washington County park.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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