A North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission study found that artificial reefs made from synthetic materials attract fish for longer periods of time than reefs made from Christmas trees.
The research project was entitled "Using the DIDSON to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Different Fish Attractors in Turbid Reservoirs."
"This study proved that artificial structures made from synthetic materials are a better option for us compared to attractors constructed from Christmas trees, which we would have to replace on a regular basis in order for them to attract the same amount of fish as the artificial structures," said Jessica Baumann, the fisheries biologist who oversaw the fish attractor study.
Baumann worked with other Wildlife Commission staff to evaluate the effectiveness of natural and artificial fish attractors to assess how well they congregated fish and how well they held up over a three-year period.
Fisheries biologists began the fish attractor study in June 2008, sinking three different types of artificial attractors and one natural attractor constructed from Christmas tree bundles into Lake Townsend in Greensboro and Lake Cammack in Burlington. They chose the two lakes because of their abundance of sport fish, similarity in size, and lack of underwater structures.
After evaluating each attractor site every fall, winter, spring and summer for three years, using a high definition imagery sonar unit called the DIDSON (Duel-Frequency Identification Sonar), biologists concluded that artificial fish attractors held similar numbers of fish and lasted longer than the Christmas tree bundles.
As a result of this study, the Wildlife Commission has begun using artificial structure constructed from synthetic materials to help congregate fish in many bodies of water. In 2013, staff deployed 19 synthetic fish reefs in Hyco and Mayo lakes near Roxboro.
They also deployed nine fish reefs in Lake Thom-a-lex, four fish reefs in Shearon Harris Reservoir, and two in the Tar River Reservoir. They plan to deploy similar fish reefs in Lake Raleigh, Lake Holt, Farmer Lake, Lake Michie and Lake Reidsville this summer.
source: North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission