Lake management – artificial habitat

Lake management – artificial habitat

Aug 20, 2012

Habitat: Build It, and They Will Come!

By Mike Pehanich

Far too often, bad things happen when man meets water.

We love it when our tap water runs clean, cold and clear. We like our swimming pools free of debris. But we have a poor idea of how to care for the water in our lakes, ponds and streams. Far too often, we cannot conceive of the kind of home a fish prefers.

Manmade waters frequently emerge in the vicinity of housing and industrial development complexes. More often than not, they are dug out in a bowl shape, more or less, before the water arrives, with little or no thought given to fish habitat.

A lot of our reservoirs, too, have limited cover and desirable fish habitat. Sometimes it decays over time. Often it was never there to begin with.

Exclusive SWF video “Fish Habitat – Make Your Own With Terry Brown” here!

But some simple habitat introductions can not only add a “hot spot” to your home lake but add to its fish-producing capability as well.

Habitat enhancement you can do

Terry Brown of Wired2Fish fame works with local lake authorities near his home in Bloomington, Ill., each year to supplement lake habitat with artificial cover that he builds at his headquarters office.

Taking a lake management tip from B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott, he constructs cover by sinking trunks and limbs from osage orange trees in “pickle barrel” five-gallon buckets with concrete. “They last a long time,” says Brown. “And they provide great cover for the fish, especially in lakes with limited natural habitat.”

Adding favorable artificial habitat to your home lake can add to the size and numbers of game fish. Terry Brown warns that it is important to work with local authorities before adding any habitat to your waters.

Terry also gives bass spawning beds by trimming halves of plastic 55-gallon drum, adding concrete and, later, pea gravel over the top and a cross member to retain shape.

“Bass love to spawn in these!” he says.

Bed cleaning

During low water conditions, Brown may clean the “snot growth” -a slimy organic buildup – from the artificial beds.

But the clean-up practice is more a practical benefit to fishermen whose lures load up on contact with the annoying plant growth than it is to the fish. The growth on the drum halves consists of periphyton, a mixture of algae, bacteria and other microbes that anchor the food chain. So the fish don’t mind if it stays.

Check out Terry Brown on the Wired2Fish website (


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