Building Concrete Fish Balls for Roosevelt Lake
Almost all of the lakes in Arizona are man-made and were created 50 to 100 years ago. The natural breakdown of wood, trees, rocks and most of anything underwater, has left many of our lakes lacking natural fish habitat. Fish habitat provides cover, a place for food to grow and protection. Without cover and protection, small fish are an easy meal for larger fish.
Fish are not the only ones who get to benefit from habitat structures, fishermen also get a nice benefit of catching more fish! Many studies have shown that fish habitat attracts multiple sizes of fish and actually can increase a fisherman’s catch rates. I can already hear a few of you groaning saying that if people can catch more fish they are going to harvest more fish and ruin the population. But that’s not the case in Arizona, years of research conducted by the Aquatic Wildlife Branch and Regional Specialists has shown overall harvest rates are low, especially at the large reservoirs around the state.
For almost 2 years AZGFD has been working with the fishing public to build concrete fish habitat called concrete fish balls. Concrete fish balls are 4 feet wide and 3 feet tall with a large hole in the middle and smaller holes around the outside to allow fish to move around and through the ball. Building these concrete fish balls is not an easy feat. See the video happyfishaz.com put together to highlight how to build the structures.
Building concrete fish balls is a two-day process, assembling the molds and pouring concrete the first day, then taking the molds apart the second day. So far, we have had nine 2-day habitat building events and the results are 114 concrete fish balls ready to be new homes for fish at Roosevelt Lake. Over the last nine events, we have had over 80 volunteers contributing 328 hours to building fish habitat. It is great to see the angling community come out and support building fish habitat for our Arizona Lakes.
We will be back building concrete fish balls this coming fall and we are always looking for people who want to come out and help our effort to restore fish habitat in our Arizona Lakes. If you are interested in volunteering, email Amberle Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for the fish habitat volunteer email list.