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Feb 03 2010

Christmas with the fishes

Christmas trees are dropped into Palmetto Lake to create new fish habitats.

Christmas trees are dropped into Palmetto Lake to create new fish habitats.

by Kristin Hackler

On Friday, January 22, the fish of Palmetto Lake at the Seabrook Lake House were probably a bit surprised to receive a collection of their very own Christmas trees.

Inspired by the SC Department of Natural Resources, Seabrook Islander and Wildlife & Lakes Committee member Jim Altemus suggested that the remaining Christmas trees on the island should be tossed into the lake to create shelter for the lake’s various species of fish. With the help of Tom Fox, chair of the Wildlife & Lakes Committee; Roger Banks, charter member of Wildlife & Lakes Committee, and seven other participants, the arbor collection crew began circling Seabrook Island, gathering Christmas trees that had been placed on the side of the road for trash collection and tossing them into the back of a utility truck.

25 or so trees later, the group hauled their piney finds onto the POA john boat and sunk them into the lake, using fencing wire to bind the trunks together and cinder blocks to weigh them down.

“It was like throwing bodies into the water, they just sank slowly,” Roger Banks joked.

The trees were sunk in two or three spots, all of them far enough away from the banks of the lake so anglers casting from shore wouldn’t snag on them, and deep enough so that they would provide a descent hiding place for the fish.

Stocked only two years ago, Palmetto Lake is already burgeoning with the number and size of fish swimming around in the lake’s two acres of fresh water. Initially stocked with Brim, Shellcracker, Flat Head Minnows and sterile Grass Carp, the Wildlife & Lakes Committee restocked the lake with Large Mouth Bass and Channel Catfish just last year.

“When we stocked the fish, we had Cormorants just lining the sides of the lake,” smiled Tom Fox. “They must have eaten several hundred dollars worth of fish before they even got a chance.”

Wildlife & Lakes Committee members had previously studded the bottom of Palmetto Lake with construction waste such as concrete tubing and “porcupines”- spackle barrels filled with random lengths of boards and filled with mortar – but the addition of the trees should provide excellent shelter, as well as a place to feed, for the Palmetto Lake fish for years to come.

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