Fish Habitat Improvement
Fish Habitat Improvement
Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois
The quantity and quality of fish habitats in a body of water have a direct impact on Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota fish populations.
Cover for fish is often lacking in man-made ponds, and even in some lakes. Fish structures provide an aspect of habitat that is critical to survival and reproduction. They provide places for small fish and fry to hide, thereby allowing more to reach adulthood. Structures can also improve fishing success by concentrating bait fish and creating hunting grounds for larger game fish.
When it comes to fish management in ponds and lakes, having a habitat is vital for increasing growth, carrying capacity, and survival rates. Habitat consists of structure and cover. The structure is the shape of the bottom of a lake or pond — meaning the permanent features within the waterbody (i.e. underwater bars, humps, edges). The cover is any item that provides refuge for fishes (i.e. native aquatic plants, submerged trees, artificial fish structures). Often, in ponds particularly, the structure is limited. To make up for the lack of structure ponds may provide, the cover must be diverse.
A fishery is made up of more than just the large game fish we all love to see and catch. Each fish species has different habitat needs and preferences at each stage of its life. Small fish (fry) need a dense cover that not only protects them from predators but also facilitates the phytoplankton growth they feed upon. Fingerling fish need a less dense cover that will allow them to escape larger predators. Having successful recruitment of fry and fingerlings is important for having a self-sustaining fish population. Adult game fish are attracted to cover for foraging opportunities, but also use overhead cover for protection from avian predators.
Fish habitat can be enhanced in many ways. Whether the habitat is artificial, natural, or a combination of both, the biologists at Cason Land & Water Management, LLC will help you design and install the fish habitat that will enhance the fishery in your pond or lake. Call Cason Land & Water Management, LLC today to find out more.
Artificial structures are easy to assemble and transport. The structures we use have a textured surface to promote periphyton growth, a prime food source for small fish, and V-shaped branches, which reduce snagging when fishing.
Artificial structures can only be placed in private waterbodies. If you have public waterbody, you will need to focus on natural habitat structures and cover, which may require a permit for installation.
Covers made with natural materials, such as fish cribs, fish sticks, or fallen trees work well but are cumbersome to transport and eventually decay, requiring replacement. Sourcing and installing these natural structures can be problematic. However, grant funding is available for habitat improvement projects, such as building and installing fish sticks.
Cason Land & Water Management, LLC, services Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota with locally sourced materials, equipment, and know-how to build and install these structures. We also work with lake groups and handle any applicable permitting and grant writing that may be required to help with fishery improvement.