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Fish Habitat Enhancements
Iowa DNR Fisheries staff uses several habitat enhancements on Iowa waters to improve catch rates for anglers. Some of the enhancements are constructed on the dry or frozen bottom while others are placed from a boat in existing water. Each habitat enhancement brings its own limitations and benefits that are usually directed towards a specific species, season, or angling type. Some of the common enhancements are tree piles, rock reefs and mounds, spawning attracting areas, stake beds, benched jetties, bank hides, and others.
Placement locations can vary widely. All depths and locations can offer some benefits to many species during some period of the year. Site selection is based on a combination of factors. Those might include the natural bottom contour, where angling activity would best occur to avoid conflicts with other activities, siltation, behavior patterns of the desired fish species, as well as any other concerns. Branches from brush piles are sometimes left exposed to assist anglers in finding these submerged locations. Habitat structures placed in deeper water offer shelter during summer months, and structures placed in the deepest areas can provide excellent cover for winter panfish. Using surplus Christmas trees should be avoided, as they do not offer long term habitat and their branches are thin and break down quickly.
Lake and Watershed Construction
The Department of Natural Resources Lake Restoration Program (LRP) focuses on restoring impaired lakes to improve the quality of life for Iowans. Communities are rallying around their water resources as they seek population growth and economic success. Communities of the Iowa Great Lakes Region, Storm Lake, Creston and Clear Lake are obvious examples, but many other communities are identifying the importance of lakes for their futures as well.