Fisheries biologists with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Freshwater Fisheries Section used discarded Christmas trees recently to maintain and construct fish attractor sites around Lake Murray.
The Lake Murray fish attractor sites are clearly marked by buoys. Reservoirs all around South Carolina use Christmas trees for fish attractors. The majority of fish attractors still require an occasional addition of brush and Christmas trees that provide an excellent source of material.
Once on the lake bottom, Christmas trees and other suitable materials provide a surface where small aquatic plants grow. These plants in turn attract aquatic organisms and small fish that are fed upon by larger fish. The trees also create shade and hiding spots for fish.
Currently, information about fish attractor sites with GPS coordinates for Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion can be found online at the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Web site at: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/fish/fishattract/fishattr.html, or call the Columbia DNR office at (803) 734-3886 for more information. DNR will add more information online for other lakes as the project continues.
The construction of fish attractors is labor intensive and it takes a team effort on the lakes to complete them. Hal Beard, DNR fisheries biologist, and Drew Robb, DNR fisheries technician, recently completed a five-day stint on Lake Murray and deposited about 150 trees.
“It's an excellent way to recycle Christmas trees,” said Beard, “and we’re putting them in places where they won’t interfere with boating.” In this instance, the location where the trees were placed was in the small cove near the Dreher Island State Recreation Area villas.
The two men prepped the trees by securing concrete blocks donated by Southeastern Concrete Products Co. in Cayce to the lower trunk. “Then as many as 15 trees are loaded onto a pontoon boat used to take them out onto the lake,” said Robb. Sometimes a second block was added if a tree wouldn’t stay down. “We don’t want them floating off and creating a boating hazard,” Robb said.