Alabama Power has partnered with the Weiss Lake Improvement Association, and students from the Cherokee County High School Fishing Team, to build and deploy a large number of fish attraction devices to enhance the fish habitat at Weiss Lake.
We spoke with local fishing guide Mark Collins during the operation:
The high school anglers teamed with several local fishing guides to build the fish attraction devices by taking lengths of bamboo and placing them in concrete blocks filled with mortar, and, after drying those devices were loaded onto Alabama Power boats and then placed in strategic locations in the lake. The devices were placed in the lake near Little River Marina, and took several hours to deploy.
We asked Collins what prompted the new initiative:
We also spoke with Alabama Power representative Mike Clelland, who was pitching in with the guides and students to kick-off the renewal project:
Each of the spots where fish attraction devices are deployed, is recorded by GPS, and can be found by visiting apcshorelines.com.
In keeping with Weiss Lake Improvement Association (WLIA) mission to maintain, protect and enhance the quality of Weiss Lake, AL and its fisheries for today’s and future generations to enjoy, WLIA, Alabama Power Company, and the CCHS Bass Team completed the first phase of the Weiss Lake Fish Habitat Enhancement Program.
Mark Collins, who volunteered to direct and coordinate this project states “Since the impoundment of Weiss Lake in 1961, we have seen a drastic reduction of natural fish habitat, due to the natural aging process. It is proven that an aggressive fish habitat enhancement program will increase the Bass and Crappie populations in older lakes that are losing the natural habitat due to age and erosion. The enhancement program will provide habitat at different depths, to provide a refuge for the smaller fish for protection from predation from larger fish and birds. Largemouth Bass and Crappie spawn in shallow waters and stay there during their first year, and the second year they move to deeper water, a good habitat enhancement program will provide habitat at different depths, to increase the survival rate of these young fish so they can mature into larger harvestable fish.”
WLIA and Alabama Power Company’s goal for the Weiss Lake Fish Habitat Enhancement Program is to divide the lake into 5 major areas, and enhance the habitat in one different major area, each year. After 5 years, there will be over 500 new habitat sites and fishing area’s for the public in Weiss Lake.
Thanks to all the volunteers, Mark Collins, Director of Weiss Lake Fish Habitat Enhancement Program, WLIA Board Members, Richard Green, George Taylor, Jim Forrest, Tim Pentecost the coordinator for CCHS Bass Team’s involvement in the Program, the CCHS Bass Team (Lane Pentecost, Cody Brown, Dawson Dodd, Blake Gossett, Jacob Helms), Emily Twilley, Jerry and Lane Pendergrass, and Jim Vann.
Special Thanks to Mike McClelland and Patrick Graham of Alabama Power Company for donation of needed materials and barges. Also, thanks to Bill Hamlin, Owner of Little River Marina and Lodge for his donation of motel rooms and lunch for the volunteers.
WILA’s website is www.weisslakeimprovementassociation.org and FaceBook@ Weiss Lake Improvement.
Please join us the second Thursday of each month, 5:30 at the Cedar Bluff Meeting Hall.