Oxbow lake offers birding, gigging, and bowfishing
Once part of the Missouri River’s main channel, Cooley Lake is now a remnant oxbow lake that offers little in the way of traditional fishing, but plenty of action for birders, giggers, and bow-fishers.
Years of accumulated silt have left the once-deep main channel a shallow wetlands lake, making it a draw for migrating waterfowl, said Cooley Lake Conservation Area (CA) Manager Chris Blunk.
“Cooley’s big thing is migratory birds in the fall and spring,” Blunk said. “But there’s still a lot of upland birds in August.”
Located on the nearly 1,350 acres in Clay County, Cooley Lake’s shallow August waters also draw frog giggers and bow-fishers, he said.
“Frogging is a big thing at Cooley, too,” he said. “It’s kind of late in the frogging season, but it’s still going on.”
As opportunistic wetlands, Cooley Lake CA relies on runoff and flooding from the nearby Missouri River to replenish its water and occasionally provide prey for bowfishers.
“If there’s water that’s running through the structures, if we do have rainfalls, there’s quite a few bow-fishermen that utilize the area as well because the gar and the carp get in there from the river,” Blunk said.
This Issue's Staff
Angie Daly Morfeld