2016 Fish Habitat Enhancement Plan
Sullivan Lake, Sullivan, IN

The Reservoir Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Program (RAHEP) started in April of 2016 with a goal to make improvements at Sullivan Lake, a 451-acre reservoir in Sullivan. The Indiana DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife formed a partnership with the Bass Unlimited Foundation, Jones and Sons Concrete, Sullivan County Parks and Sullivan County Jail to complete this project. Download Sullivan Map

Partners provided the following:

  • Bass Unlimited, a non-profit based in Terre Haute, is providing more than 1,200 feet of drainage tile to build the Georgia cubes and volunteers to help with structure construction.
  • Jones and Sons Concrete in Bloomfield donated 200 cinder blocks.
  • Inmates from the Sullivan County Jail will cut lumber for fish cribs. The Inmates worked with Sullivan County Parks and Lake Staffer’s during winter to prepare materials and assist with building.

The Bass Unlimited Foundations is a natural fit to partner with the Indiana DNR due to many of its funds comes from Anglers and conservationists. Wil Newlin President of the Foundation stated “the new program will enhance aquatic biodiversity and therefore improve recreational fishing experiences for all Anglers”.

Most of Indiana’s reservoirs were built in the 1950s and 1960s. Trees, logs and roots that once provided cover for fish have decomposed. The new man-made structures will replace the lost habitat. Sullivan Lake, a 451-acre reservoir in Sullivan, In., was chosen as the program’s first lake because it holds little aquatic vegetation and has been awarded a grant for shoreline stabilization project through the Indiana Lakes and Rivers Enhancement Program (LARE). “There are a lot of positive things going on at Sullivan Lake, and these improvements will make fishing better,” said Sandy Clark-Kolaks, DNR southern fisheries research biologist. “We hope to put more than 100 structures into Sullivan Lake in 2016, and it will take many hands to build them all.”

The structure build was held on April 30, 2016 with the help of the DNR and the partners listed about. Structures include the following: 39 Porcupine Cribs; 46 Porcupine Cribs Juniors; 30 George Cubes; 20 Black Bass Nesting Platforms and Brush Piles (to be place in the fall of 2016).

Last week, more than 150 man-made structures were placed in six areas in 6 to 10 feet of water. Structures were placed using a special pontoon boat. Five structure types were used to accommodate fish of different species and sizes, according to Sandy Clark-Kolaks, DNR southern fisheries research biologist. “This type of work is being conducted by several Midwestern states,” Clark-Kolaks said. “We were able to take the good things they are doing and bring them here to Indiana.”

The Bass Unlimited Foundations along with all the partners would like to thank all the volunteers that help make this project a success. The next lake to receive these structures will be Cecil M. Harden Lake (Raccoon) in 2017.