Welcome to our all new fish habitat design and layout page. Our intent is to show interested pond owners along with our customers, a sample of our hand drawn fish habitat plans, fish attractor designs and custom fish habitat devices that we have made for our clients over the years. Each lake, pond and tank offer different strategies to achieve the customers habitat and fishing goals. Some folks want to have swimming areas, docks and rafts or just tons of cover, brush, weeds and fish. Shape of the pond, trees providing shade around the pond/or not, both create needs differently for the fish. Over all water depth and type of water in-flow, both contribute to the habitat thought process. Hard bottom or soft, steep slope or shallow? You can see there are many variables we look at to achieve your goals before designing the habitat. Options to install the habitat package all at once, or over a number of years? Will installation be in dry lakebed or full pool? Your pond and goals, your schedule and budget.
Are you planning to fish from shore, in boats, both or none? The types of fish you want to stock, how many and when you stock them will all add details into the final design. "The accepted rule of thumb is at least 20% of the water surface area needs to be cover/habitat to begin to self sustain. This amount of fish habitat and even more, will allow enough protection for some fish of all species, to grow to maturity and reproduce."
We have learned from decades of underwater study that the best case for the fish to flourish is to have a variety of materials underwater to use as cover, resting and habitat. Trees, brush and root wads, rock/gravel and boulders, aquatic plants, weeds and grasses, can all be mixed together with some plastic as well to offer the most variety. This variety of materials is so important, for a number of reasons, but we can't forget about height.
The more variety in type of habitat materials and size, complexity, density and ever changing variations of different materials that are offered the better. Variety in habitat type will attract that same variety of organisms. Not only are we designing habitat to protect young fish, but unique crevices, nooks and spaces to first harbor the micro organisms they feed and survive upon. This most important food source is surface area for periphyton.
We have been recommending to our clients for many years to mix up materials as much as possible, in roughly equal amounts. Some folks don't have or want any wood, usually because of the un-wanted decomp. Some places do not have any rock available, or any vegetation wanted in their pond. Fish will use what they have available, we simply to expand those choices. 20% of the 20% in plastic works really well when all the other types are used. We find the fish prefer the lighter colored plastic in warmer summer months over wood and weeds, due to the cooler temps that it keeps. Darker colors warm first in the spring, providing protective cover in the shallows in the spring near spawning areas. As you can see, many different types of fish attractors and fish habitat can work in unison.
Where would you hide if you were only 1" long and everything else was larger and trying to eat you? When designing a detailed fish habitat design, that is the question we ask ourselves. Dense, shallow fish cover is the back bone of the system. Protect the little guys, give them cover, bugs and protection from the elements and predation and they turn into giants!