Like wet Johnny Appleseeds, bass-fishing teams from Alexander, Central, Harris County, Crosspointe Christian, Breman, Carrollton and Newnan high schools literally jumped in the lake to create important new fish habitat at West Point Lake.
Many hands made light work during this mid-August outing. The kids placed hundreds of water willow plants at select locations around the lake. The plants were anchored to the lake bottom with a chicken wire blanket and rocks.
This is the second year of a three-year effort to establish water willow in West Point.
Funding for this effort came from a competitive grant written by Tony Beck. Tony is a fisheries biologist with WRD, serving at the Social Circle Hatchery, and he is also the president of a local bass club in Madison. BASS and Shimano provided $5,000 for the program.
Water willow creates excellent shallow structure and cover—two things important to fish, but absent from many flood-control lakes that are drawn down during the winter.
According to Tony, 15 of the 20 sites planted last year are now thriving. The hope is that, once established at key locations in West Point, the plant will naturally spread and colonize suitable habitat lake-wide. These young bass anglers will be fishing these grassbeds for decades.
Already, some sites planted last year are large enough to hold bass. Interestingly, the sites are doing well enough to attract deer and geese that browse the plant and slow down the rate of expansion.