It was Christmas in April for fish in Lake Martin.
Some 200 Christmas trees from the last holiday season were anchored with cinder blocks and dumped near Wind Creek State Park to provide a natural habitat for fish to frolic, in a joint effort of Alabama Power and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR).
“It’s part of our goodwill, our stewardship outreach to provide more good places to fish,” said Mike Clelland, coordinator of Alabama Power’s Renew Our Rivers program who supervised the April 21 tree drop. Clelland said Alabama Power has sunk more than 60,000 Christmas trees in company reservoirs since 1993.
The tree dumping sites are marked by GPS coordinates and posted on Alabama Power’s website and Shorelines smart phone app.
“The trees attract fish. Our hope is to increase the catch rates of anglers,” said Kyle Bolton, who works with fish habitat enhancement for the Fisheries Division of ADCNR. Bolton brought the trees from Montgomery where they were donated by the city’s recycling program or from vendors who had extras after the holidays.
“As reservoirs age, the fish habitat degrades,” Bolton said. “What we’re doing is restoring it.”
Wind Creek park supervisor Bruce Adams watched the deployment from the shoreline.
“Lake Martin is a fishing destination,” he said. “To provide new habitat for the common fisherman so they can locate fish is important, not only for our guests who visit, but for the entire Lake Martin community.”
Two volunteers helped load trees on three boats.
“I know what they’re doing and why,” said Tommy Lacey, who lives in the Wind Creek campground. “That’s my fish they’re attracting out there.”
“I know how important these structures are to fishing,” said Alexander City resident Ivey Queen. “I like to see people come down here and have a good time.”