Volunteers add aquatic habitat to Lake Ouachita

Members of the Arkansas Black Bass Coalition and other volunteers worked with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to to cut cedar trees from the shore of Lake Ouachita and create multiple new fish attractor sites in the Rabbittail area of the lake. (AGFC photo courtesy of Brett Hobbs)
Members of the Arkansas Black Bass Coalition and other volunteers worked with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to to cut cedar trees from the shore of Lake Ouachita and create multiple new fish attractor sites in the Rabbittail area of the lake. (AGFC photo courtesy of Brett Hobbs)

LITTLE ROCK -- Angler groups recently joined with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to improve the fishing at Lake Ouachita and two lakes in southeast Arkansas.

"Volunteers with the Arkansas Black Bass Coalition and members of the Lake Chicot Crappie Federation teamed up with their local fisheries biologists to add impressive amounts of fish habitat to lakes in central and southeast Arkansas," a news release said.

According to Brett Hobbs, fisheries supervisor at the AGFC's Hot Springs office, roughly 25 volunteers made up of the Arkansas Black Bass Coalition and other interested Lake Ouachita anglers provided the manpower to cut cedar trees from the shore of Lake Ouachita and create multiple new fish attractor sites in the Rabbittail area of the lake.

The Game and Fish Commission obtained a special permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to cut the trees and sink them.

Hobbs says this area of the lake has a considerable amount of aquatic vegetation shallower than 22 feet deep. The trees were placed in deep water -- 20 to 45 feet deep -- to provide prime fish habitat during summer and winter when fish have moved offshore.

The Lake Chicot Crappie Federation also helped with a habitat project in southeast Arkansas at Lake Chicot near Lake Village. Biologists gathered materials for 165 artificial habitat structures and met with volunteers from the club, who helped assemble the structures and joined the AGFC placing them from an AGFC habitat barge. Sixteen new offshore fish attractor sites were created, each consisting of 10 to 13 PVC trees or commercially prepared Mossback Trophy Trees.

According to Spencer Dorsey, AGFC fisheries biologist in Monticello, materials for the fish habitat structures were either donated from local businesses or were purchased with AGFC funds specifically for fish habitat work.

Fisheries staff in southeast Arkansas upped the artificial habitat ante, adding 30 new structures to Lake Saracen in Pine Bluff. Kris Nault, AGFC fisheries supervisor in Monticello, said the Saracen structures included 10 PVC trees, 10 Mossback Trophy Trees and 10 "spider buckets" created from water-safe plastic tubing and concrete.

Three new habitat sites were created, including two located within casting distance of the public fishing piers and one within casting distance of the public shore fishing area.

The exact locations of all fish attractors placed by the AGFC and its partners are available under the link to "AGFC Interactive Maps" at:

http://www.agfc.com/maps

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