Hillsdale fish habitat project

Ask any knowledgeable fisherman why they fish precisely where they do and their explanation will likely include the presence of some sort of underwater structure at their favorite honey holes.  Fish are drawn to underwater structure for both security and forage.  This structure can be as elaborate and extensive as sunken Christmas trees, underwater trees and brush piles or something as mundane as tree stumps and old building foundations.

                The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) biologist use a new and very different product to create fish attracting structures in Kansas Lakes. Developed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and known as Georgia Cubes, each structure is a square frame made from PVC pipe upon which plastic corrugated drain pipe is fastened. A 3-foot square “cube” is made from 1.5 inch PVC pipe. Before the top pipes are put onto the cube, about 16 pounds of gravel is poured into the open pipes, making the cube heavy enough to sink to the bottom of the lake and stay where it’s put. Also before the top framework is added, holes are drilled in pieces of 4-inch plastic, corrugated drain pipe (like you would bury around your house for drainage) and pieces are slipped down over the upright pipes until a total of about 50 feet is added. The plastic drain pipe adds additional surface area to help attract fish, yet keeps the design open, which seems to work best. Then the top PVC pipes are put on and the cube is ready to be submerged. The PVC cubes are cost-effective, easy to place and last three times longer than traditional tree-limb brush piles. In other states where they are in use, they have also proven to attract and hold just as many fish as man-made brush piles. Biologist have also found that these structures quickly accumulate a complex mix of algae, fungi and bacteria known as periphyton, which attracts small fish and insects, which in turn attract bigger sport fish. Once the cubes are submerged, they will be marked by GPS and added to the file available on the KDWPT website. It all equals a win-win situation for Kansas fisherman as our Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism helps us all Explore Kansas Outdoors!

                Leavenworth Bass Club volunteers (Mike Brooks, Ken Hackworth & son in law, Jack Millar and Eric Verburg along with other local volunteers) provided their support to the KDWP fisheries program by assisting in the construction and placement of 52 cubes in Hillsdale Lake.

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