Donate your Christmas tree to boost angling action
LITTLE ROCK – Once the wrapping paper has been thrown away and the last drop of egg nog has been consumed, few people have a use for that evergreen tree that graced their home during the holiday season. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has a new job for those leftover trees – as fish habitat.
The AGFC has drop-off locations across the state to let your old Christmas tree have a second life as underwater cover.
Jason Olive, AGFC assistant chief of fisheries, says the small spaces and dense cover offered by fresh Christmas trees make excellent nursery habitat for small fish.
“In ponds where we’ve sunk Christmas trees, we’ve seen increased growth in smaller fish,” said Olive. “Young bass, crappie and bream and baitfish all benefit from the cover, and larger gamefish will be attracted to the smaller fish.”
Anglers are welcome to remove trees from drop-off locations to create their own fish attractors. Olive suggests using parachute cord and cinder blocks to weight the trees down.
“Sink groups of Christmas trees together,” said Olive. “Within two to three years, you won’t have much left except the trunks, but when we drained Lower White Oak Lake in Ouachita County recently, we saw several nice piles of Christmas tree trunks that were still good fish habitat after 12 years of being in the water.”
Trees should be clean of all ornaments, lights and tinsel before they are dropped off. Artificial Christmas trees should not be used as fish habitat, either.
Trees can be dropped off at any of the following locations until the end of January:
• Arkansas River – Alltel Access beneath the I-30 Bridge
• Greers Ferry Lake – Sandy Beach (Heber Springs), Devils Fork Recreation Area and Choctaw Recreation Area (Choctaw-Clinton)
• Lake Conway – Lawrence Landing Access
• Harris Brake Lake – Chittman Hill Access
• Lake Overcup – Lake Overcup Landing
• Lake Barnett – Reed Access
• Lake Hamilton – Andrew Hulsey State Fish Hatchery Access Area
• Jonesboro – Craighead Forest Park Lake boat ramp
• Lake Dunn – Boat Ramp Access
• Lake Poinsett – Dam Access Boat Ramp
• Lake Walcott – Crowley’s Ridge State Park Boat Ramp Access
• Beaver Lake – Highway 12 Access and AGFC Don Roufa Hwy 412 Access
• Lake Elmdale – Boat Ramp Access
• Bob Kidd Lake – Boat Ramp Access
• Crystal Lake – Boat Ramp Access
• Lake Chicot – Connerly Bayou Access Area
• Cox Creek Lake – Cox Creek Lake Access Area
• Bois d’Arc Lake – Kidd’s Landing or Hatfield Access
• Millwood Lake – Cottonshed, White Cliffs Recreation Areas and the Millwood State Park ramp on the point
• Dierks Lake – Jefferson Ridge South Recreation Area
• DeQueen Lake – Any U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boat ramp
• Gillham Lake – Any U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boat ramp
• Lake Greeson – New Cowhide Cove and Self Creek Recreation areas
• Camden – AGFC Regional Office on Ben Lane
• Upper White Oak Lake – Upper Jack’s Landing
• Magnolia – Columbia County Road Department Yard on Highway 371
• El Dorado – City recycling center drop-offs: one behind Arby’s and one on South Jackson
• Smackover – Recycling Drop-Off Center (these will be transported to El Dorado)
• South Fork Lake – South Fork Lake Access
• Terre Noire Lake – Terre Noire Lake Access
• Hope – AGFC Regional Office on Hwy. 67 East