Christmas trees may not immediately remind you of your latest fishing trip, but recycling them can improve the fishing experience in your local pond.
There's one last thing to do before we start the count-down to the next Christmas season. Put this year's tree to rest. But if you used a real tree this year, it's still useful once the lights and tinsel are removed.
According to Fisheries Management Biologist Mark Boone, Christmas trees can be recycled by putting them into ponds or lakes to give fish extra hiding places.
Boone says providing brush, such as Christmas trees and aquatic vegetation for pond and lake fish is like furnishing our homes. He says just like we need furniture, fish like resting areas; shade and escape cover for their environments, too.
However, small fish don't just "like" the furnishings; they need it to hide from predators. And on the flip side, Boone says trees and vegetation underwater can make a hunt easier for a crappie or bass that likes to hide behind a limb and wait for its prey.
When recycling your Christmas trees for fish cover, think large. While three or four trees can provide adequate cover, Boone says larger brush piles are even better. This makes a great opportunity for neighbors to get together and combine efforts, by recycling a whole neighborhood of this year's Christmas trees.
You can anchor several trees together with concrete blocks, and then place several of these small brush piles next to each other to make large brush piles. Also, don't forget to think about water depth before sinking your trees. Placing the brush pile bundles in a row from three to eight feet deep is best.
For more information on using trees and brush piles to help fish habitat, contact your local Missouri Department of Conservation office or check out this linked "Aquaguide" at www.MissouriConservation.org.
If you don't have a pond or lake in your area, you can also place your old Christmas tree in your backyard to offer cover for wildlife, or under bird feeders to provide nesting locations in the branches. You could also have the tree shredded or chipped for mulch.