Introduction I would like to go ahead and thank the sponsors of this project The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation approached us in 2013 with a $250,000 grant to: finish the improvement work that had been done at Table Rock Lake including their watershed efforts and publications as well as to complete a project to add fish habitat structures in the Missouri portions of Bull Shoals Lake and Norfork Lake. Bass Pro Shops also donated the habitat barge that we use to sink the habitat structures.
The lakes are without aquatic vegetation because of the seasonal fluctuation of the water level and the current habitat structures have been deteriorating for a few years. Our goal of this project was to increase the habitat to attract sportfish for angler use. I will be going over the steps we took to complete the project, which is still in the works.
First we asked the Corps for permission since they own the lake Pictured is the approval letter and places we asked for permission to sink trees. This included coves and main lake areas, which included depth requirements for each area to avoid boating hazards.
The next step was to hire staff and contractors for the project.
Starting with the top left picture… We use fence stays or cable to make handles for the anchors, bending them in a vise is the quickest way we have found Next we place plywood on the ground and stack pilaster blocks, or all flat edged cinder blocks, side by side… Then we fill the blocks with concrete- pea gravel mix seems to work the best when you need to push handles down later. We have averaged 115 blocks per yard of concrete ($150 per yard delivered) A pallet of 90 blocks costs approximately $225 Each anchor will weigh approximately 80 pounds Next we brush the concrete off the top of the blocks with a shop broom, then push the handles in. Pictured lower left is a PVC handle for carrying blocks- keeps the wire from hurting your hand You can use a forklift to lift and move blocks Pictured lower right is staff pouring anchors on the shoreline to avoid moving them twice.
Ease of access is important for tree selection Cedar trees on the forest edge typically have a fuller crown because of more access to sunlight Slope of the shoreline/bank is another important consideration Cedar trees are selected because they make good habitat, have lots of branches, are very abundant on the lakes, have relatively hard wood that lasts, and can still be used while trying to protect roosting bats, and can be cut year-round
Once the tree has been cut we can attach a floating rope from the boat to the tree with a clevis and drag the tree to the shoreline.
We attach the anchors to the trunk of the trees with 3/16” solid braid nylon rope Average 5 blocks per tree (400 pounds) and have used as little as 3 blocks and as much as 10 blocks per tree
The boat has a elevated rack with a winch attached to one arm Utilize the rope/winch to cradle the trunk and tighten up the slack- make sure at least one limb is caught in the rope for dragging purposes A depth finder is attached to the rack and is used to find the appropriate depth One end of the rope is detached from the cleat and the weight of the tree pulls the rope back through the “cradle” A marker buoy is used to mark the first tree and another tree is dragged in place A GPS is used to mark the location of the structure
We have been able to advertise the project through MDC website, Newspapers in Arkansas and Missouri, and Facebook We have also advertised the project with anglers at boat ramps, resort owners, and marina owners, and private boat dock owners Thank you to all of the cooperators for allowing access to launch the boat and park the boat on the lake near the working areas.
We were also able to make printable maps with coordinates for anglers to use We have a MO Fishing Interactive Map on our website that lets you download coordinates and see what is currently in the lake. This not only includes structures created in 2016 but also past structures Click on a symbol to get coordinates, ID, type of structure, and the year installed The MO Fishing mobile App is also being updated to include the new habitat locations
We would like to know if the structures have been a success… Fish have been caught on the structures as soon as a week and a half after installation Pictured are fish being caught on the structures that were installed during this project We would like to evaluate what the optimal size tree is for structure longevity We would like to evaluate how many trees are needed for the biggest benefit We would like to evaluate the structure design and depth for optimal fish use and angler accessibility throughout the year. …. Answering some of these questions will guide our future management decisions
Fish habitat project nfwf final.pptx (dylan)
Installation and Evaluation of Fish
Habitat Structures in Bull Shoals
Missouri Department of Conservation
• Bull Shoals Lake:
– 48,000 acre reservoir located on the White River, built in 1951
• Norfork Lake:
– 22,000 acre reservoir located on the North Fork of the White River, built in 1944
• Both are owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
• Both are situated partially in Missouri and Arkansas
• Missouri Department of Conservation and Arkansas Game and Fish
Commission are primarily responsible for fisheries management activities
• Increase fish habitat structure in the Missouri
portions of Bull Shoals Lake and Norfork Lake.
– Approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to
place fish habitat structures in the lake
– Hire staff and contractors
– Fabricate anchors
– Select, cut, and drag trees to shoreline
– Attach anchors and sink trees
– Functional design of fish habitat structures
– Stakeholder engagement
– Evaluation of fish habitat structures
Hire Staff and Contractors
• MDC Hired Temporary Staff:
– Fisheries Biologist- Coordinates and Implements
– Resource Assistant- Assists Fisheries Biologist with
• MDC Contracted:
– Two Laborers- Cut cedar trees, attach drag ropes
to trees, and attach anchors to trees
• Elongated structures perpendicular to
– Extend 10’ to 30’ deep in coves
– Extend 20’ to 40’ deep in main
• Facilitates angler accessibility and
sportfish use with the constraints of a
fluctuating water level.
• Each fish habitat structure is made of
at least 4 to 8 cedar trees
• Each tree averages 5 anchors
(approximately 400 lbs.)
• Advertisements through MDC Website, Newspapers, and Social