Colorado Parks and Wildlife has started a project to install 150 artificial tree-like structures to help improve fish habitat in the reservoir at Crawford State Park [log in for link]
The Honey Hole Tree produced by Pond King is a multi-purpose artificial fish habitat. The structure's "limbs" are made of environmentally safe tubing that create 15,000 square inches of surface area for algae, eggs and insect larvae to attach to, which creates an ample food source for smaller fish.
The dozens of slots around the cone-shaped base of the structure also allow smaller fish a place to hide, which in turn attracts larger fish.
"These structures will provide cover for little fish and fish that need a vertical structure to spawn," said Crawford State Park Ranger Scott Rist. "The perch and crappie benefit the most from the structures, as it will give them a place to hide from the predator fish."
CPW has deployed these structures in several other Western Slope reservoirs, including Harvey Gap, Highline Lake and Rifle Gap State Parks.
During the next two years, the structures will be placed all over the Crawford State Park reservoir. They will sit below the average low water mark, which will give baitfish cover during the summer and winter months.
Unlike natural fish habitat at the bottom of a lake, anglers can fish through the flexible limbs of the structure without snagging lures. Rist said that means more fish in the boat and less lures in the bottom of the pond.
Rist credited District Wildlife Manager Stuart Sinclair and aquatic biologist Eric Gardunio for their work for the past five years to make this project possible.
"Crawford Reservoir is a large, muddy bowl with no structure, making it hard for fish to spawn and hide," Rist said. "Our group went to the Crawford Water Users and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation with several ideas, and the fish structures we placed in the reservoir were the best option.
"These fishing structures will vastly improve the fishing at Crawford. We want to thank the Bureau of Reclamation and Crawford Water Users for allowing us to move forward with this project."
Crawford State Park is located south of the town of Crawford in Delta County just off Colorado Highway 92. Along with crappie and perch, anglers may catch largemouth bass, northern pike or rainbow trout in the 400-acre reservoir.