The BLM Cody Field Office and Wyoming Game and Fish Department partnered in February to improve fish habitat at a reservoir in the region.
The partners came together on a sunny February morning at Mayland Reservoir on public land south of Emblem. With temperatures hovering near zero, the group hauled dozens of Christmas trees across the frozen surface, placing them in strategic locations. Groups of trees were then tethered to concrete blocks that will sink, with the trees in tow, once the ice melts this spring.
The trees were collected from the Christmas tree recycling program sponsored by City of Cody and Cody Rotary Club. Last year trees were put on the ice at Beck Lake.
Christmas trees have long been recycled in water bodies that lack structure and depth changes. These sunken trees will provide important cover for fish and much-needed nutrition as the plant tissue decomposes, spurring the growth of algae which forms the foundation for the food chain.
“It’s good to get some complexity to the habitat and it also helps attract fish,” said Joe Skorupski, G&F fisheries biologist. “That’s really the goal – to bring fish to these areas so people have good opportunities to find fish close to shore.”
The fish species present in Mayland Reservoir are largemouth bass, green sunfish-
bluegill hybrid, yellow perch and tiger muskie. All these species are attracted to submerged trees, which concentrate them for angling.
Both the BLM and G&F hope to continue this project for years to come.
“We’re happy to partner with Wyoming Game and Fish to provide value back to Bighorn Basin anglers through the use of these trees,” said Brad Tribby, BLM fish biologist.