The cold days of winter may lead to some hot fishing for crappie at many Oklahoma lakes this year, thanks to habitat improvement efforts by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's Fisheries Division.
Cliff Sager, chairman of the Department's Fish Habitat Committee and south central region fisheries biologist, said the Department manages fish attractor sites in more than 100 lakes throughout Oklahoma.
"The goal of this program is to improve angling success by creating man-made fish shelters for anglers to use," Sager said. "When water temperatures drop, crappie tend to be less active and hold tight to the brush. Wintertime crappie fishing can be hot around standing timber and sunken brush piles."
Fish tend to gather around the attractors during colder weather, and by fishing near these attractors, anglers are likely to improve their odds of success. Sager said the Department constructs and refurbishes underwater fish attractors using various materials including trees, rocks, pallets, plastics or a combination of items. The Eastern red cedar tree, an invasive species in Oklahoma, is generally unwanted by landowners and is readily available. It is common for department personnel to cut down these trees and use them at fish attractor sites.The department also uses artificial bush-like structures called spider blocks as fish attractors. Spider blocks are concrete blocks with eight to 10 black polyethylene pipes arrayed upward from the top, which makes them resemble a spider.
"These structures hold fish, don't break down over time, and are virtually impossible to get a lure stuck on," Sager said. For those reasons, spider blocks generally hold favor with fishermen and biologists alike.
During 2012, personnel with the Department's Fisheries Division rebuilt or added underwater fish attractors in following state lakes:
Lake Thunderbird ( Lake Elmer Birch Lake Healdton City Lake Broken Bow Pine Creek Hugo Raymond Gary ( Crooked Branch Lake McAlester City Lake Clayton Nanih Waiya Wister New Spiro Spiro-Ward Fort Cobb News Contacts: Michael Bergin or Micah Holmes (405) 521-3856 Website: www.wildlifedepartment.com
This program operates free from discrimination on the basis of political or religious opinion or affiliation, race, creed, color, gender, age, ancestry, marital status or disability. A person who feels he or she may have been discriminated against or would like further information should write: Director, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152, or Office of Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, D.C. 20240.