AGFC adds forest of fish attractors at Beaver Lake
BY Jim Harris
ROGERS — Arkansas Game and Fish Commission staff in northwest Arkansas spent two weeks in December, taking advantage of the low water and unseasonably warm weather to tackle a huge fish attractor project, adding 119 new fish habitat sites to the 57-year-old reservoir.
Thanks to funding from Bass Pro Shops, Toyota and the National Fish Habitat Partnership, the AGFC has been able to use a specially modified habitat barge outfitted with a winch-assisted dump bed and twin engines to move large trees and branches to areas of the lake where woody cover is scarce.
“We’ve also received a second barge from a Bass Pro Shops grant that is identical to the first one we received through the Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership,” AGFC regional fisheries biologist Jon Stein said. “This barge has placed more than 100 habitat sites using at least 800 trees on Beaver Lake, Lake Fayetteville, Lake Elmdale and Lake Bob Kidd.”
The first week of the Beaver Lake project focused on the Hickory Creek and Monte Ne areas, where anglers will find 55 new habitat sites. Twenty of these sites were made from lumber fashioned into “porcupine cribs.” The remaining 35 sites were created using large hardwood trees removed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Monte Ne.
The second week of the project took place in the Indian Creek arm and around Dam Site Island where 64 fish habitat sites were created using more than 180 large cedar trees. These and the hardwood trees used during the effort were removed from the surrounding banks with special permission from the Corps. The cedar removal also helped with a larger effort to control this species that has encroached on many habitats during decades of fire suppression on the landscape.
The GPS waypoints for these new habitat sites have been added to the Fish Attractors page of the AGFC website.
BOAT WITH TREE
The AGFC partnered with the Army Corps of Engineers to sink hundreds of trees in Beaver Lake during two weeks in December. AGFC photo.
BOAT WITH ARTIFICIAL COVER
Porcupine cribs created with lumber were added to 20 fish attractor sites to provide long-term cover for baitfish and ambush points for predatory fish like largemouth bass and large catfish. AGFC photo.
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