12/18/09 — Four fish-attractor reefs placed in Guilford lakes

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Four fish-attractor reefs placed in Guilford lakes

By Courtesy NCWRC
Published in Sports on December 18, 2009 1:46 PM

Courtesy NCWRC

RALEIGH -- The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has placed four fish-attractor reefs, marked by orange-and-white buoys, in Lake Higgins.

While there's nothing new about the design of the fish attractors, the way they're situated in the lake is a novel idea that Corey Oakley, a fisheries biologist with the Commission, hopes will improve the fishing in the 226-acre impoundment, located in northern Guilford County.

Commission staff, Lake Higgins anglers and other volunteers, encircled PVC-pipe-and-plastic-barrel fish structures with porcupine fish attractors to create an artificial reef that measures about five feet in height and 15 feet in diameter.

Commission biologists hope that this design will attract a greater diversity of fish. Ongoing studies conducted in lakes Cammack and Townsend indicate that, regardless of how they're made or of what material they are constructed, fish attractors attract fish, although some do a better job than others.

"We're in the middle of a 3-year survey on lakes Cammack and Townsend to determine the effectiveness of the various types of fish attractors that we placed in those lakes last year," said Oakley. "Data collected so far suggest that the fish attractors are doing their job -- they're attracting fish, but one size doesn't fit all."

While barrel attractors may not hold the numbers of fish that porcupine attractors do, they hold the bigger fish. Therefore, the combined structure should attract a greater diversity of fish as well as greater numbers of the fish.

"Larger fish, such as largemouth bass, channel cats and pickerel, congregate around the PVC- pipe-and-barrel fish structures, while smaller fish, such as sunfish and crappie, seem to prefer the complexity of the porcupine attractors," said Oakley. "As their name implies, these structures look like giant porcupine quills connected to a sphere that forms a circular configuration."

Commission personnel will place four additional fish-attractor reefs in Lake Brandt later this month.