Sheri Samson
John Lockwood provides a habitat for fish eggs by recycling Christmas tress in the Weber Reservoir.

The seasonally abandoned Weber Reservoir was all but empty, except for one aluminum fishing boat waiting to slip into the frozen water. John Lockwood stood by in protective waders, tying up his last cinder block to one of the discarded Christmas trees he had taken down to the shore. Lockwood had weighed down each tree and was ready to make his trek around the waterway to sink this new habitat, allowing a safe haven for spawning beds for the Blue Gill and the Crappy to lay protected eggs.

“I do this to recycle the trees and provide protection for the newly laid fish eggs; otherwise they are eaten by the large crappie fish and we don’t continue the cycle of new fish.”

Lockwood was newly elected to the Walker River Paiute Tribal Counsel in Schurz, but was at the reservoir as a community member doing his part. As a Paiute member, Lockwood sees the outdoors as a place of solace for himself, while stressing a strong desire to see the community children participating more within the outdoors, so they learn the pride of their historic lands.

“Being outdoors is my thing,” Lockwood shared. “I was the secretary for the fish and game at one time and I head up and assist in the Father’s Day Fishing Derby every June to create a family day and promote fishing within our region. I love seeing our kids out here with fishing poles catching their limits and enjoying the day’s events. Everyone can come and participate. We just need more children involved in what nature offers us in this beautiful area.”

Lockwood spoke of the seasonal uses within the reservoir with waterfowl hunting season running from October to February and fishing season opening in March to September; licenses are available at the tribe’s Four Season’s Market.

As a father, Lockwood felt the importance of being part of the tribal counsel for the continued future, sharing the fulfillment of being part of the solution and not part of the problems.

“If we could all come together with pride in our community and each do our part it will make for a greater community than what we have now.”

Lockwood stared at the slivers of ice floating throughout the waterway. Before taking a step into the shoreline, to pull his fishing boat into the water’s edge, he took his gloved hand to move away glistening pieces of ice shards.

“Somewhere below these fresh waters there is a state record bass waiting to be caught. I haven’t hooked him yet, but I know there are some big bass swimming around in here – over 12 pounds and up. Maybe this will be the year we catch a few of those big ones.”

Lockwood smiled with a glint of pride in his eyes and then he turned to continue his ecological task for the day, reminding us to return with our fishing poles in March.