Bass Unlimited staff and a group of hearty volunteers met on a chilly Saturday morning recently along the banks of Mill Creek in Clark County, IL. No, they weren’t there to go fishing (although it was tempting), they were there to build Christmas tree reefs for fish habitat in the lake. Bass Unlimited Foundation organizes these types of projects as just one of the ways to fulfill its mission of providing resources for conservation, preservation and restoration of fish populations in public accessible waters for anglers of today and future generations.

The Mill Creek project this year was organized by volunteer and Bass Unlimited member Kevin Altmeyer of Marshal, IL. Kevin took charge making arrangements for the trees to be delivered to the site, lining up boats to carry the trees out to their final locations, and organizing volunteers to get the job done. Bass Unlimited certainly owes a big Thank You to Kevin as well as the group that came out to help. We also would like to say thank you to the Mill Creek Park management and the Clark County Board for their help in this project!

The weekend did not stop there however. The very next day, the BU staff met a group of volunteers at Sullivan Lake, just south of Terre Haute, IN to do it again. Without volunteers and assistance from local entities like the Sullivan Lake Park Management crew these projects could not happen and we are very grateful for the support.

The trees are weighted down with cinder blocks tied with either nylon rope or stainless steel wire. Each habitat “pile” is made up of six or seven trees depending on their size. “Christmas trees are a cost effective way to build fish habitat,” says BU president Wil Newlin, “They are easy to get and last about three to five years.” Wil continued, “We have used artificial materials in the past, building Georgia Cribs made of PVC pipe and flexible tubing, and those are great, last a long time and we will certainly do more with artificial habitat in the future, but the Christmas tree reefs will always be a part of what we do as well.”

Other habitat projects include rock structures like those created at Raccoon Lake State Park near Rockville, IN and the Bald Cypress tree planting done at Monroe Lake near Bloomington, IN.

Bass Unlimited Foundation is dedicated to spreading these types of projects across the country, but they cannot do it alone. It takes memberships, volunteers and financial support. We urge you to join us and help us make fishing better now and for the future.