Fishing habitat is one of the most important aspects to angling success. In water bodies lacking structure and depth changes, baitfish will be heavily scattered. Without refuge, many fish remain inactive most of the day, suspending over deep water. Adding cover provides much needed nutrition for even the smallest of species, and with this the food chain will follow. As woody plant tissue decomposes, Mother Nature jump starts a whole new series of vegetation at the lowest levels of life such as phytoplankton and various algae’s. Zooplankton, also known as water fleas, populate and forage on the new vegetation, attracting small insects, mussels, snails, and crayfish who also eat on the phyto and zooplankton. The abundance of life then attracts small, non-predatory fish that eat on the small insects or zooplankton, and the larger, predator species we cherish will follow. As the saying goes, “Find the Bait, and You’ll Find the Fish”
One method has proven popular over the years for creating the perfect fish retaining structure. The most important goal is developing structure that will stand upright underwater, providing the most surface area for fish. To do this, the tree must be secured to a strong base. Cement blocks or 5-gallon buckets work best in creating underwater structure. Success has been found tying nylon twine to the heavy base; however, it is best to stick to metal wire as nylon will break down at a faster rate. Fill the base with concrete to secure the trunk. Affixing the tree straight is of up most importance, as it will prevent your structure from falling over. Finding a location that will attract fish is one of the most import aspects of sinking trees. Take into consideration seasonal fish transitions, relation to deeper water and the main lake or river, as well as other locations fish prefer to gravitate to such as creek channels, points, cuts and ledges.
? The needles of your tree may be completely lost within the first few months of sinking. Some reports show as much as a 10-year life expectancy, where at that point all that remains is the main trunk and a few of the largest limbs. A lot of this will depend on the current of the area and how hard the area gets fished.
... Contact your state’s conservation department to learn about designated recycling locations in your area, as well as any regulations for your state. Some agencies offer volunteer opportunities to help with the efforts to recycle trees into fish habitat. This year or next year, choose the recycling option that helps support our local fisheries. The wise angler understands the dynamics of the food chain, and the value such habit.