News of the Week

Dec. 21, 2015
Fisheries Biologist Becomes SW Region Supervisor
   Ryan Ryswyk has become the Southwest Region            fisheries supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of      Wildlife Conservation. (Provided) 
  After serving as a fisheries biologist for six years, Ryan Ryswyk has been promoted to regional supervisor of the Fisheries Division Southwest Region for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
    Ryswyk takes over for Larry Cofer, who served as regional supervisor for 26 years before retiring in July.
    Ryswyk is no stranger to the 13-county Southwest Region. He was raised just a few miles from the Southwest Regional Office at the J.A. Manning Fish Hatchery in Medicine Park, and he is a graduate of Elgin High School. 
    "I grew up fishing these small lakes and larger reservoirs around here, and now I'm fortunate enough to be in charge of managing these fisheries," he said. "I've always had the 'outdoor bug' and enjoyed hunting and fishing. ... But I started with a love of fishing, and I still enjoy it, especially during the spring and early summer months."
    The Southwest Region offers Oklahoma's outdoor fan varied opportunities for hunting and fishing. The region's largest reservoir is Waurika Lake, about 10,000 acres in size. Ryswyk said this expansive lake is a good bet for anglers who want to catch some hybrid striped bass or catfish. Other sizable lakes include Ellsworth, Lawtonka, Fort Cobb and Tom Steed
    The region also boasts a number of smaller lakes with some great fishing opportunities. Five Wildlife Department fishing lakes are found here: Burtschi, Doc Hollis, Hall, Jap Beaver and Vanderwork
    "About everything filled up with the spring rains, so fishing is getting better and the fish populations are rebounding." 
    The region offers plenty of boating and fishing opportunities, and even a few stream fishing opportunities, especially at Medicine Creek. This is one of the Wildlife Department's designated trout fishing areas during the winter months, and trout are stocked regularly during the season. Ryswyk said some major improvements are taking place at Doc Hollis Lake, which lies in a newly added portion of the Sandy Sanders Wildlife Management Area. Improvements are being made to enhance the parking area and improve angler access. A dock is being installed, and trees are being removed from the dam. 
    Ryswyk said among his goals is to make improvements at smaller impoundments, such as city lakes, to create better fishing experiences closer to home for the region's residents. 
    Ryswyk began his career at the Wildlife Department in 2008, after graduating from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries ecology and a master's degree in natural resource ecology and management. He started as a technician at the Oklahoma Fisheries Research Laboratory in Norman, and was promoted to Southwest Region fisheries biologist in 2009. 
    He and his wife, April, have two children: Gracie, 2, and Garrett, 3 weeks. 
    The new supervisor urges all sportsmen and sportswomen to get out and enjoy the year-round angling opportunities in the Southwest Region. For more information, call the regional office in Medicine Park at (580) 529-2795.