Building Fish Structure, Hands-On Habitat – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]


– NARRATOR: On a spring
afternoon, Kody Corrin
and Calvin Lamont are
out to do some fishing.
– CALVIN: What color
do you need? – KODY: Watermelon red. – CALVIN: I may switch up
here in a second.– NARRATOR: Serious anglers,
like Calvin and Kody,
work every angle to
hook a nice fish.
– KODY: I got one. – CALVIN: He ain’t very big. – No, came off.– NARRATOR: Otherwise they might
not hear the end of it.
– CALVIN: Didn’t even get him
in the boat, huh? – KODY: We fish together
quite a bit. – CALVIN: Come on to daddy. Oh, you little flipper! That’s part of fishing
with Kody… – KODY: Oh man, it’s a monster! – CALVIN: Pretty normal for us
to rib each other. Little dude. – KODY: That’s huge! [laughs]– NARRATOR: But these veterans
know the key to a respectable
fishing trip is finding
the right location.
– CALVIN: I think we need
to go hit them ones. See what they’ve got to offer. – KODY: That group that’s on
that point over there. – We’ll go to this one for now.– NARRATOR: And they happen
to know of some promising
new spots to fish because of
a project they helped with
more than a year earlier.[heroic energetic music] ♪ ♪ [bubbles] [hammer tapping] [drill whirs]To the uninitiated, that project
might not have looked like
anything that would
improve fishing.
– CALVIN: It’s got enough
tentacles hanging out. – KODY: Somebody that doesn’t
really know would think that we’re just piecing
recycled garbage together and we’re really not. – LYNN: So it’s going to be
24 arms for each base. – We need three more. We’re not dumping garbage in
the lake, we’re actually providing good habitat
for these fish. – TIM BISTER: We are at Lake
Cypress Springs to construct some artificial fish
habitat structures. [drill whirs] There is not a lot of structure
for fish like largemouth bass or sunfish to relate to
underneath the water. And fish need habitat
structure in general. Even in reservoirs that left
timber standing, over time that timber in the water breaks
down and the habitat for fish declines, so we’re at a point
where we really need to start doing something with these
reservoirs to improve fish habitat. [boat engine revs] That looks good. We have done work with
Christmas trees in the past, but the PVC that we’re using in
these structures that we are building today is going
to last for many, many years. [bubbles] I think these attractors will
start working pretty much right away as soon as the algae
can start growing on them, they are going to start
attracting fish and really make the angling
experience that much better. Today materials have been
purchased with money from the conservation
license plate program. We’re partnering with the
Franklin County Water District here, we have got a couple
of members with a new Bass Unlimited chapter here to
volunteer and help make fishing better in Lake Cypress Springs. – We love fishing tournaments,
but we both understand that without conservation
of the lakes, we are not going to
be able to do that. So, it is on our part to make
sure we help take care of that, take care of the resource
that provides our recreation.– NARRATOR: Of course,
artificial structures
are just one way to help fish.– Check out this little
buddy right here. This is flat stem spike rush,
water star grass, wild celery, white water lily,
square stem spike rush…– NARRATOR: Native aquatic
plants provide natural habitat.
– The more different species we
have in that plant community, the more stable that
plant community is.– NARRATOR: The man behind the
old-timey mustache is Rick Ott.
– RICK: People tell me I look
like Wild Bill Hickok, and if it makes people smile,
I’m all for it. Weeding my garden.– NARRATOR: Rick manages a
native aquatic plant nursery
at the Texas Freshwater
Fisheries Center in Athens.
– It’s not just the structure,
it’s also the actual food that’s being produced here. Structural habitat is very
important because the fish use it as a place to hide, but
the vegetation is producing food that invertebrates consume,
small fish consume the invertebrates, bigger fish
eat the smaller fish, and we eat the bigger fish. That same basis to the food
chain is occurring on those plastic structures as
we have with the plants. We’re just growing a little
teeny tiny garden on the surface of that plastic. Here we’ve just got a bigger
garden with a bigger type plant.– NARRATOR: But getting
that big garden started
is the tough part.– RICK: Let’s go look at those
pond weed cages.– NARRATOR: On the water,
Rick and his crew check on
past efforts.– RICK: We’re at Purtis Creek
State Park. We’re coming back to
evaluate some of the native aquatic plant plantings
that we’ve done years ago. We would prefer that it
was full of plants.– NARRATOR: They find some
failure and some success.
– I’m liking this a
little bit better.– NARRATOR: While cages can
protect the plants from
being eaten, they cannot
protect against drought
or high, muddy water.– We just don’t have
optimal conditions for plant growth right now, with
the water being so turbid, there’s not as much sunlight
getting to the bottom.– NARRATOR: The crew can only
hope conditions will improve
and re-plant.– RICK: It’s kind of comfortable
in the summer. – TYREK: You got it there? – RICK: My mom used to tell me
not to get all wet and muddy but now I can. Synchronized swimming,
uh definitely. We had our Ester Williams,
Ken, going underwater and putting those plants in
a little deeper water than we typically plant. Ken is our deep water guy. A lot of times all we can see of
Ken is the bottoms of his feet, but we know he’s working if we
can see the bottoms of his feet. [playful music] If we get a little bit of luck
involving the kind of weather conditions that we have this
summer, we should see good survival of the plants
we put in today.– NARRATOR: Nearby Lake Athens
demonstrates what these
desirable plants can look
like when well-established.
– We’ve got a very diverse
native plant community here. We’ve got extensive coverage
of a number of species, so ultimately, this is what
we’re trying to produce. We’re getting more and more
Friends of Reservoirs groups all over the state, allowing us
to fund these projects in a number of different places. [reel whirs] – It’s the key to having a
great fishery, you know?– NARRATOR: After their workday
is done, the crew’s intern,
Tyrek Landry…– There’s one on there.– NARRATOR: …shows what native
plants can do for fishing.
– That’s a good fish, guys. You see what it produces. Beautiful fish. I’ll go ahead and
turn this guy back. [splash] That made my day.– NARRATOR: Whether with native
plants or strange-looking
artificial structures,
improving fish habitat
makes for better
days of fishing.
– CALVIN: Here we go, there
they are, see them?– NARRATOR: Back on Lake Cypress
Springs, Kody and Calvin
find some fish at home, near
habitats they helped install.
– Got him. Everybody likes a
home to stay in. If you’ve got extra places
that you can fish that you know is holding fish,
that’s always advantageous when you’re fishing. – KODY: If you start catching
fish, that’s always a bonus. There’s a good fish. – CALVIN: Glad you finally
caught one. – KODY: Some inside information
improves the odds in the fisherman’s favor.– NARRATOR: And these secret
spots are really no secret.
– KODY: Most anglers probably
don’t know they can go on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website
and get those grid coordinates for the habitats that we placed. – CALVIN: You can do the
same thing with a cell phone, absolutely. You can punch those grids in and
it will take you right to it as long as you’ve got
cell phone service. Get the net, get the net. Oh, we ain’t got one! [laughs] Look out. There’s enough habitats in here
that the fish are going to be on one of them. – KODY: No it is a crappie. It’s a white perch. Hey! – CALVIN: So these habitats
are holding crappie. Caught some crappie and caught
quite a few largemouth today. – KODY: Great day on the water. – CALVIN: It was a good time.– NARRATOR: This project was
funded in part by a grant from
the Sport Fish
Restoration program.

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