Posted by David Ewald/Eric Engbretson on 25th Apr 2020
Part Ten: Putting it all together-Top takeaways from our ten part series:
Protection is the key: If the habitat structures are designed and installed in a way that don’t reduce the attack to capture ratio, they provide no benefit for forage species and consequently won’t hold any fish at all. Effective fish habitat must be constructed with a labyrinth of pockets and retreats that are completely inaccessible to larger predators.
Fish are much more discriminating than we would ever have imagined. Because of that, every aspect of Fishiding habitat structures has a purpose or utility that the fish have shown us they prefer.
Our research shows that fish prefer complex designs that resemble natural elements like macrophytes or coarse woody habitat-They shy away from assemblages that look foreign and out of place.
There’s a real distinction between form and function. For artificial fish habitat to have any legitimate purpose at all, it needs to be genuinely functional and cannot just occupy space on the lake floor. Does your artificial habitat provide fish with shade, cover, safety, refuge, and food as well as natural habitat does?
It’s important to have a good understanding of the target lake’s topography, recruitment history and bio-chemical character. This will ensure that the habitat is placed in a location where it will be best used and where the employment of additional habitat would serve a purpose beneficial to the fish.
Artificial habitat units located in very close proximity to each other, always outperform single units standing alone. Fish will treat the combined individual units as one large, meandering reef.
Because we can never really get into a fishes head and our own intuition about what should work is unreliable, testing is imperative to physically see what the fish prefer. There’s no substitute for being in the water with the habitat and seeing it with your own eyes. It gives you the most complete picture of what’s happening within the habitat and how fish are relating to it.
We have all been thinking much too small. The challenge is not to make something that may function as well as a new Christmas tree, but to have higher aspirations, daring ourselves to design and deploy the kinds of habitat that Mother Nature herself will approve.
Fish Habitat Mats. Simply put, they’re immovable, modular, habitat platforms that an array of habitat components can be secured upon/inside in limitless configurations. They can be carried, rolled or slid around quite easily during assembly, but become virtually immobile once on the lake floor. Hundreds of pounds of safe, dense cover can be secured in one secure cluster. The Mats will create extremely large complexes of cover, breaking a size barrier that has been previously limiting. Now, the dimensions and proportions of the habitat complexes can be measured in yards not feet. They can be as large as you want them, creating the kind of genuine fish-holding habitat that up until now has been unimaginable. We finally have a way to create credible artificial rivals to large pieces of coarse woody habitat, sunken timber, dense beds of vegetation and other kinds of habitat that nature ordinarily provides.
To improve effectiveness and cost, the habitat needed to be larger, taller and heavier than anything previously considered or produced. These are the factors that shaped the decisions that lead to the design of the new Modular Habitat Mats by Fishiding.com.
Designing and building effective fish habitat is a genuine science. It’s still in its infancy, but we’re learning a great deal every day about the nuances of design and deployment. With today’s deep interest in artificial fish habitat, we’re eager to share our findings with fisheries professionals who want to learn more.