Trees for the fishes? Yes, says Forest Service

Published 12:00am Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Now that the holiday is over, some may be wondering what to do with that live Christmas tree. Well, those at the Conecuh National Forest have a solution – donate it to them.

CNF staff are looking for 50 “nice full Christmas trees” to use as fish attractors in the forest’s public lakes.

Dr. Mark Garner, biologist, said the practice of using trees to attract fish is not new. Ones collected will be used in Buck, Open and Ditch ponds.  If there is a surplus, others will be placed in Leon Brook Hines Lake, too, he said.

“Providing structure for fish habitat should be one of the highest priorities considered by a fisheries manager if they want to provide successful fishing opportunities for the public,” he said.

Garner said fish attractors or structures are simply objectives like sunken or fallen trees, trees, PVC creations or fence posts, placed in a body of water to provide habitat. Algae or fish food usually grows on the structures so smaller and/or younger fish are attracted to the structures, he said.

“As you can image the entire food chain is eventually attracted to the structure because of it provides food sources and hiding places,” he said. “As a result, the structure could be swamping with fish activity. So if you know of structure in a pond or lake -fish it- because it is likely a fish attractor.”

Garner said tree bundles will be tied to concrete blocks, and then dropped from a boat into a strategic place in 6 to 10 feet of water around the pond.

Fishermen will be glad to know the habitats are usually marked with a large buoy labeled “fish attractor;” however, there will be a few “hidden treasures” among the waters.

Those wishing to donate a tree are asked to drop the tree – “minus the decorations, of course,” Garner said jokingly – behind the office located on the Ala. Hwy. 55 South Bypass, next to the Social Security Administration building.

Those with questions can call 334-222-2555 for more information.

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