It’s inevitable. As lakefront properties get developed, some of the woody debris that naturally occurs in the lake disappears.
“We’re putting some of that back,” said Melissa Dakers, lake stewardship co-ordinator with Watersheds Canada.
Last week, Dakers, along with Vern Haggerty and other members of the Mazinaw Property Owners Association, were busily involved in placing 24 structures in the Upper and Lower Mazinaw Lakes.
“We call them brush bundles of fish habitat,” Dakers said. “Each bundle is six to eight feet long and two to three feet wide, and made from a variety of woods including pine, cedar, maple — it doesn’t matter.
“They’re tied together with rope and anchored with cinder blocks.”
The bundles provide shelter and habitat for a variety of species including bass, walleye and a number of minnow species.
Most of the bundles are placed in about 12 feet of water, so as not to be a navigation hazard, but some placed in back bays are much shallower, primarily to accommodate minnows.
“They’re as big as two men can carry,” said Haggerty.
Dakers said she was pleased the MPOA contacted her to add the Mazinaws to the project which also includes Canonto, Mississippi, Christie and Dalhousie Lakes.
“When we put them in Otty Lake, one of the guys had a GoPro camera in the water and within 30 seconds, fish were coming in to check it out.”
She said the project began in 2014, with funding coming from Fisheries and Oceans Canada under the Recreational Fisheries program.
Dakers said this project in particular could show results.
“The MNR did a net study of these lakes this year and plans to do another in about three years,” she said. “We should get some indication of how well it has worked then.”
Dakers said that she’s still looking for more lakes to work with and encouraged lake associations to contact Watersheds Canada.
“I’ve enjoyed this immensely,” said Haggerty. “I took water resources in college but I’ve only worked in project management.
“It’s great that we have organizations like Watershed Canada to work with.”
“This is a fantastic job,” Dakers said. “In the winter, I write reports and grants and in the summer, I get to do this.”
From left, Melissa Dakers of Watersheds Canada, Vern Haggerty, Mazinaw Lake lead steward and Mazinaw Property Owners president Francine Bates spent two days adding protective fish structure in both the Upper and Lower Mazinaw Lakes. Photo/Craig Bakay