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Tradition Meets Technology: Attracting Fish in Lake Glenville

Local anglers are getting a helping hand from the Friends of Lake Glenville in the form of 20 new Honey Hole fish attractors.

The fish attractors, manufactured by Pond King, are designed to create an attractive aquatic environment for all kinds of fish, making it easier for fishers to haul in a catch. “They provide a habitat for the fish — the smaller bait fish will congregate close to these and, in turn, will bring in the larger feeding fish. So it provides structure for the fish,” said Larry Lively, a member of the Friends of Lake Glenville.

The Friends of Lake Glenville are the volunteer group who helped set the fish attractor program into motion with the assistance of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

Lively has worked closely with the commission to put the project together. He has helped Powell Wheeler, one of the wildlife commission’s lead fisheries biologists, plan the funding and deployment of the fish attractors, which look like giant plastic Christmas trees.

“The nice part about them is that they’re made out of plastic, so once you put them there, they’re there forever,” Wheeler said.

Fishers have been tossing old Christmas trees and all manner of other objects into lakes for years, giving fish a place to hide and congregate near their favorite fishing holes. The Honey Hole attractors work in the same way, but don't have to be replaced every two to three years as they rot away.

This type of attractor has become popular in recent years, according to Wheeler. The design looks like a traffic cone covered in lengths of plastic tubing, pointing in all directions. The long arms of the attractor provide a place for algae and plant life to grow, encouraging tiny baitfish to seek them out to feed. The base is also covered in slots and openings, giving smaller fish a place to hide from larger, predatory fish.

Lively and Wheeler were on hand June 10 to install the attractors in Lake Glenville. They’ve installed 20 around the lake so far, but Lively said that they would like to expand the program if they see the sort of results they’re expecting.

“If the project goes as well as we believe it will, we will consider doing it again in the future,” Lively said.

Concentrating the fish in Lake Glenville into certain areas makes fishing much easier for visitors, but Wheeler said that an increase in catches isn’t likely to adversely affect the fish population or the ecosystem in the lake.

“It won’t hurt, and there’s a lot of reasons. The big one is that, especially the fish that would be attracted to this — that’d be the largemouth bass, smallmouth bass — a lot of people aren’t harvesting these fish anyway,” Wheeler said.

He said the fish population is large enough, and a big enough portion of fishing is catch-and-release, that the fish in Lake Glenville will not be depleted any faster than they have been in the past. The attractors just centralize some of the better fishing spots.

According to Wheeler, 20 attractors is a fairly conservative start for the project. He said the total number could safely increase well beyond that figure without any risk of harm to the lake.

“You could put as many as you want in Lake Glenville. I don’t think we’re ever, at the rate we’re doing it, going to say we need to quit,” Wheeler said.

Funding for the project was split between the Friends of Lake Glenville and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission — each group purchased 10 of the $150 fish attractors. Lively said that this investment is going to be well worth it in the long run.

“We’re trying to get the best bang for our buck, and 20 is just literally dipping our toe in the water,” Lively said.

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