Fish attractors map it out for anglers

Lone Star Outdoor News

With many Texas lakes built in the 1950s and ’60s without much structure for habitat, TPWD has been putting out fish attractors in recent years to help aging lakes.

Common fish attractors are recycled Christmas trees weighted with concrete blocks; cut bamboo stalks dropped in concrete, known as crappie condos; and the so-called Georgia cube, a square frame made of PVC pipe crisscrossed with plastic corrugated drain pipe. It provides spaces for smaller fish as well as spaces for larger fish to hide and ambush them. The cube, developed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, also quickly becomes a breeding ground for periphyton, a mixture of algae, fungi and bacteria that attracts insects and baitfish.

“The periphyton attract the baitfish,” said Dave Terre, chief of management and research for TPWD’s Inland Fisheries. “The baitfish attract the predator fish, and the predator fish attract the anglers.”

Some 30 lakes have fish attractors, with many receiving help from different groups in placing them. TPWD’s website also offers locations for these fish magnets.

For example, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department with ample help from groups such as the Seven Coves Bass Club, the San Jacinto River Authority and Texas Black Bass Unlimited created four fish attractor “reefs” at Lake Conroe.

A look at TPWD’s Web page for the lake tells you why. Two words are used to describe the aquatic vegetation: “low density.”

Viewers can call up a map showing the fish attractors, which are numbered. The latitude and longitude of each are given along with a brief description of its placement, such as “Mouth of Turkey Cove on east main lake point along river channel drop” for Canyon Lake fish attractor number 1.

Placement of fish attractors is something of an art, although there are some tried and true practices. A key factor taken into account is a lake’s thermocline: the transition area that separates warmer surface water from colder deep water.

“You definitely don’t want to place fish attractors below the thermocline because the fish need oxygenated water,” Terre said. “And you definitely don’t want to place them where they’ll be a hazard to boaters and anglers. You especially have to be careful when you’re dealing with a reservoir that has fluctuating water levels.

“On a ledge before a drop-off is usually a good spot. A lot of the time we depend on our partners — as well as our biologists — for advice on where to place fish attractors. They fish the lakes and know where they’re needed.”


Texas lakes with fish attractors:
Amistad Reservoir
Aquilla Lake
Archer City Lake
Lake Arrowhead

Lake Austin
Brandy Branch Reservoir
Lake Brazos
Lake Brownwood
Lake Buchanan
Canyon Lake
Lake Cisco
Lake Conroe
Lake Cypress Springs
Lake Fork
Fort Parker State Park Lake
Fort Phantom Hill Lake
Lake Georgetown
Lake Granbury
Lake Holbrook
Hords Creek Reservoir
Inks Lake
Lake Livingston
Mill Creek Reservoir
Lake Nasworthy
Pat Cleburne Lake
Possum Kingdom Lake
Proctor Lake
Sam Rayburn Reservoir
San Augustine City Lake
Stamford Reservoir
Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir
Lake Waco
Lake Welsh