Alabama's Weiss Lake, believed by some to be the "capital crappie of the world," received a much needed habitat boost this summer, courtesy of Alabama Power, the Weiss Lake Improvement Association, and the Cherokee County High School Fishing Team. They teamed up to build and install 130 fish attraction devices (FADs) to supplement the declining woody cover in the aging 32,000-acre reservoir.
"As the lake has gotten older the past 50 years, we've seen a massive loss of natural cover in the lake," said Mark Collins, a fishing guide who helped organize the event.
High school anglers and guides made the FADs by sticking lengths of bamboo into concrete blocks filled with mortar. Using Alabama Power boats to transport the attractors, volunteers then dropped them near Little River Marina in places known to be hold bass and crappie.
"It's easier for fish to find them if we place them in sports where they are already," Collins said. "When algae grows on the bamboo, the bait fish will follow and soon after we'll catch all kinds of fish around the FADs."
Alabama Power's Mike Clelland added, "Each of the spots where FADs are deployed is recorded by GPS and can be found by visiting apcshorelines.com. It doesn't help anglers if they can't find them."
Clelland was especially pleased that high school anglers assisted. "One of our goals at Alabama Power in our stewardship programs is to reach out more and more to these student organizations to get them involved and teach them about conservation."