Trees and brush that must be removed to obtain fill for the dam should not be burned. A beneficial use is to relocate this material within the pond basin to serve as fish attractors.
Fish attractors are designed to produce food and provide cover for fish in the pond. Their ultimate purpose is to concentrate fish for angling. Fish attractors in the pond can benefit all species of fish. Bluegills, minnows, and any other prey use fish attractors as a place to hide from predators. While hiding there, they generally find an increased food supply of aquatic insects. Bass will find an attractor a good place to feed on bluegills or to rest.
Any type of tree will work as a habitat structure. Hardwoods, such as hedge or oak, are excellent choices, and the abundant redcedar is ideal. These trees can be tied together in any number of configurations or placed separately with pre-formed or custom-made concrete blocks as anchors. A tree is best secured to an anchor with heavy gauge wire, which has been passed through a hole drilled in the tree’s trunk.
Other good materials for fish attractors include tires, piles of old or broken concrete blocks, and piles of old clay tiles or pipes. Tires can be wired or bolted together in any design that suits the pond owner. A group of tires generally works better than single tire units. Several holes should be drilled in each tire to allow air to escape so the tire will sink easily.
The best attractor locations in a pond are near natural gathering places for fish or in areas where fish are to be attracted for angling. Attractors congregate fish in a particular area, but don’t necessarily attract fish from great distances. Therefore, logical locations for habitat attractors would be off points, at the edges of creek channels, in the mouths of coves, and near boat docks and fishing piers.
Brushpiles can be constructed in any water depth and may protrude from the shoreline into deep water. Tires, blocks and sewer tiles are generally unsightly if exposed above the surface, so these will need to be placed in water deep enough to cover them. There is no particular depth that is most conducive to concentrating fish, so the depth of structures can be varied. Shoreline attractors can be made by cutting two-thirds of the way through a tree and felling it into the water, leaving it attached to the stump.
Fishing brushpiles is a challenge. Skill is needed to avoid the loss of lures and bait. The angler should fish straight down or near the edges of the brushpile. Bluegills and bass will move out of brush to feed if they are hungry. If the brushpile is holding catfish, the angler may have to get his bait fairly close. Strong line may be necessary to pull a good-sized bass or channel catfish away from the protection of the cover provided by an attractor.
No type of fish attractor should be placed in catfish only ponds. Any type of structure may provide catfish a nesting site. If catfish spawn in the absence of bass, overpopulation of small catfish is likely.