Compost Option Has Trees Swimming with Big Fish

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in La Grange, Ga., is putting discarded Christmas trees to work for the local fish population. Rangers have anchored about 100 Christmas trees with cement blocks and sunk them at strategic locations throughout West Point Lake.

The trees provide shelter for smaller fish and help to attract larger fish in a reef-like ecosystem. The concentration of larger fish is intended to aid fisherman cruising the lake in search of the one that won't get away.

“Fish relate to structure and cover,” says Chief Park Ranger Bob Chitwood, “so when you sink the trees, small fish will use them as a hiding place, and big fish will come. Christmas trees probably aren't as good as oak saplings, but they are readily available.”

Residents living near the lake have taken advantage of this ecological solution to Christmas tree disposal for years by placing trees near docks and popular spots.

The corps asks that trees be sufficiently weighted and placed in deep areas — 15 to 20 feet — and that they be kept away from boating routes or swimming areas. The corps previously has used plastic peach crates to attract larger fish, but those are beginning to erode.