- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 17, 2018

CODY, Wyo. (AP) - Kelly Burr was driving back to Cody from a Kansas goose hunt last February and he noticed every frozen pond he passed on the highway seemed to be sprouting Christmas trees.

It gave him an idea and Wyoming Game and Fish implemented it on Beck Lake.

Money may not grow on trees, but trees can inhabit ice - and then become fish habitat when the ice melts, providing both cover for fish and clusters of fish for anglers.

The 40 trees planted on Beck Lake’s surface by Game and Fish were castoffs after the holiday. One belonged to Burr, one to a neighbor of his, and the other 38 he collected from tree-dump central, deposited by local residents in the new year.

Sam Hochhalter, Cody region fisheries supervisor, said the trees were attached to cinder blocks with cables and should remain in place until winter ends.

“Pending any hurricane-force winds,” Hochhalter said.

Burr, 40, said he has been fishing Beck Lake since he was 15 and now does so regularly with son Guy, 5.

When the trees drop to the bottom of the lake, anchored by the blocks, it should enhance the fishery, he said. He has seen this done with success in Louisiana, where he was born, and was reminded of that program when he was in Kansas.

Burr brought up the idea to Hochhalter some months ago and was told it sounded like a good idea, if the city signed off on it.

Burr then approached mayor Matt Hall, who checked with city departments and received positive feedback.

So Burr was ready to roll to collect discarded Christmas trees and deliver them to Beck Lake.

ProBuild and Bloedorn Lumber donated the cinder blocks and Game and Fish supplied the cable and the labor.

Hochhalter said personnel sought to place the trees and cinder blocks in spots “at our best guess casting distance from shore.”

Burr said from his experience there are not enough logs and other naturally friendly items on the silt below the surface where fish might congregate.

“There’s no place for little fish to hide,” he said.

When the trees are anchored to the lake bottom they should become gathering places for the fish and should provide better opportunities for fishermen.

The tree dispersing activity on the ice attracted attention from passersby.

“We had numerous people pull up next to us and ask what we were doing,” Hochhalter said.

They will find out in the spring when they can’t see a thing.


Information from: The Cody Enterprise, http://www.codyenterprise.com

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