Recycled Christmas trees are helping fish and fishermen alike at Lake Frederick, where about two dozen volunteers recently submerged 200 fish structures to help keep the lake healthy.
The fish structures are made from old evergreen trees and concrete, said Gregory Sanner, who owns Gregory’s Lakeside Bait and Tackle Shop at Lake Frederick.
The structures help protect young fish from larger predatory fish, Sanner said.
“They go to that structure and that’s where they hide,” he said. “With that being said, it helps the fishermen.”
The lake stocks largemouth bass, northern pike, catfish, walleye, three species of sunfish and crappie, Sanner said.
Anglers are likely to get more bites around the structures where larger fish will be hanging out looking for food.
“It helps in the reproductive cycle of the lake,” Sanner said.
Many of the structures are set up around the edge of the lake where people can access them for fishing but some are only accessible by boat, he said.
Volunteers have provided fish structures for several years, he said, but this year’s 200 trees were a bigger-than-usual gift.
Some were donated by people who saw a request for the trees posted on Facebook, but many were donated by the Town of Front Royal, which Sanner contacted after trying Frederick County.
The county would allow Sanner to pick up all the recycled trees he wanted from the landfill, but he said Front Royal volunteered to deliver their trees to him.
“The town of Front Royal gets the big ‘atta boy,’ because they went out of their way,” he said.
Other donations for the project came from North Valley Homes, which donated concrete blocks, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (previously the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries), which donated additional concrete, and a group of about 25 members of the Junior Bass Club of Frederick County.
“We set the trees inside the web of a concrete block and actually concreted the tree in the block,” Sanner said.
He hopes for even more trees next year.
“I would like to do 300 fish structures next year,” he said. “I would like to see it bigger.”
Donations, in general, are highly welcome at Lake Frederick, whether it comes in the form of recycled trees or simply a helping hand.
“I would like to see more involvement in the lake,” Sanner said. “If you see people [at the lake] who need help, help them.”
Glad that people are taking an interest in the lake, he said he’s noticed that people “are really stepping up and helping.”
“It’s not a monetary thing,” he said. “It’s time that we need from people.”