Cabin fever is setting in and fishing is on the minds of many. Now is the time to think about how you can improve the quality of your favorite lake and improve the fish habitat of that special lake.
Constructing a fish habitat is an easy project to engage in. Adding fish attractors has proven to be very successful in lakes and ponds that do not possess enough natural structure or cover for fish to thrive. Fish attractors are important both in ponds and lakes that require additional structure, cover, food sources, and spawning areas for freshwater fish such as bass, crappie and bluegill.
Fish habitat structures are easy to construct and are a great way to utilize those cold winter days. All you need are a few bundles of hardwood branches, evergreen trees or brush piles to be used as the fish habitat material. Bundles of branches are preferred because they will provide a larger habitat surface area. These materials are easily found in your community at no cost. Materials should be easy to handle and transport to the location where the structures will be assembled. I have found that hardwood materials such as ash wood have a longer life expectancy while submerged than softer woods such as those that come from evergreen trees. Other materials required for the construction of the “Fish Hotels” will be cinder blocks, plastic rope, quick set cement, pruners, a utility knife and gloves.
Before you begin your fish attractor project, you must acquire a permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Permit applications and instructions can be obtained online.
If you desire to contact the Michigan DEQ office in your area to obtain additional information, refer to this map which provides contact information by district. Be sure to know which lake(s) you would like to submerge your fish attractors prior to beginning the application process. If you are considering a lake that is located within a Michigan State Park, discussing your idea with the Park Manager first is advised. The manager can aid in the identification of areas that would be more conducive to the placement of the fish habitat and provide additional information that would make the project successful.
In the next article, details on how to build your fish habitat, proper placement of the fish attractor and the time of year in which to place your “Fish Hotel” in your favorite fishing hole will be discussed.
This article was written by Gary Williams for Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu. To contact an expert in your area, visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).