Conservation-Fish Habitat By: Nick Buseman, Grundy County Conservation Operation Supervisor
February 22, 2013
The last couple of weeks we have been blessed with a thick layer of ice blanketing the Grundy County Lake near Dike. Taking this to our advantage we decided to construct some structures and place some trees on the ice. As many of you know, the Grundy County Lake is a manmade lake that was developed through the construction of Highway 20. The 40 acre developed lake became Grundy Counties largest body of water, and was a great addition to Conservation Board. The lake has provided many area residents with a great fishery and recreation area. One drawback to having a manmade lake is the lack of structure on the lake floor. During the construction of the lake they were able to create great bottom habitat, which is merely just creating different water depths throughout the lake. After talking to our fisheries biologist we realized that we were severely lacking underwater habitat, or “fish habitat.” These underwater structures provide the fisheries with many benefits. They provide the fish of the lake with security from predator fish, while providing food for all of the fish inhabiting the lake. The predator fish will be attracted to these areas because of the abundance of bait fish, where on the other hand the less aggressive fish will be able to use these areas for feeding purposes also. These areas also provide anglers with great fishing opportunities. With a healthier fish population comes a happier angler population. It’s a win win situation for everyone. With great ice on the lake we decided to use it to our advantage. We were fortunate to have a couple area businesses donate some of the building supplies, which really brought this project together. Cooley Pumping was gracious enough to donate all of the concrete cylinders and some of the oak pallets that were used in constructing the structures. Also Ubben Building Supplies helped us considerably in donating some of the oak pallets along with all of the cross supports. The pallet structures are constructed of 3 or 4 pallets and weighted down with 5 of the concrete cylinders. We placed these structures on the ice in depths of 6 to 10 feet. We chose these depths for increasing the success of our onshore anglers. We constructed 21 of these structures and placed them in 4 different locations of the lake. The other style of structure we chose was to place mulberries on the ice. With mulberries being abundant and also a nuisance they were a great choice. Mulberries seem to hold up very well under the water, and there bushy design provides great cover. We created two tree piles in deeper water. Some of the trees were 17 to 20 feet tall, so we tried to place them in the deepest waters of the lake. These areas will provide great fishing for boat anglers along with a great area to ice fish. We are in the process of creating a detailed map of the lake, showing all of the structures we have placed in the lake over the last ten years. On the map we will hope to have the coordinates of the structure, to make fishing them possible. We hope to have it completed by sometime this summer. The Grundy County Lake is still in need of more habitat, we hope to add more structure annually. One of the limiting factors is the expense of the cement blocks. We have plenty of mulberry trees, but we are always looking for cement blocks to sink and weight down these trees or structure. If you are willing to donate blocks please give us a call at 319-345-2688. It would be greatly appreciated. On a different note, with these warmer days please realize that there is a lot of weight placed on the ice at these habitat sites so please stay away. Always make sure the ice is safe before heading out on the ice.
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