Habitat, Where the Fish are At!
Have you ever fished a lake and wondered, “Where are the fish?” Boy Scouts of America - Certified Angling Instructors with the help of Scouts and Scouters from around the Greater St. Louis Area have been working to develop habitat that provides fish with cover and concentrates them for anglers.
Community lakes are home to many species of game fish, including crappie, bluegill, sunfish, bass, catfish. Over time, natural fish habitat in the form of old stumps and trees that were buried when the reservoir was impounded began to rot and decay away. Now that lakes are older, the old habitat needs refreshing.
While fish populations are controlled by bigger factors than just habitat; like available nutrients, protective regulations, consistent spawning, proper predator and prey balance, adding habitat may help anglers catch fish consistently.
In October 2015, BSA Certified Angling Instructor Nick Matteoni provided leadership to a team of 38 Boy Scouts and built 32 Spider Block Fish Habitats as part of their course work associated with earning the Fish and Wildlife Management Merit Badge.
These newly constructed spider blocks will be added to community lakes with the help and guidance of the Missouri Department of Conservation. Spider blocks simulate natural brush piles. These artificial structures provide protection to fry and fingerlings and will stay in place and last much longer than natural brush piles. The spider blocks resemble small underwater bushes, and offer hiding places for bass, crappie, and sunfish.
Spider Blocks are easily made from individual concrete blocks, with 14 - 5 ft. sections of Polyethelene Tubing -Size: 3/4", cemented into the open areas of the blocks. Spider blocks are normally sunk at a depth of about 10 foot.
"These fish attractors can concentrate larger numbers of fish in specific areas," said Michael Brand, BSA Central Region Fishing Advocate - Area #3. "This can give anglers an edge, especially if they know a few details about where to find the structure or how deep they are under the surface of the water. It can take some of the guessing out of the decision of where to fish, and hopefully can help anglers have more success.
"One of our important goals is to help anglers be successful, and making these underwater fish attractors available to fish and then making their location available to our anglers is one way we can accomplish that goal," Brand said.
CAI are beginning to create fish habitat in lakes all over the Central Region, all in an effort to produce “more bites per cast”. The habitat work is made possible by donations provided by CAIs themselves, corporate sponsors, and good old Scout Service hours.
So the next time you fish look for clues like buoys and signs indicating such work has been completed. When you find the habitat, the fish will be there. The rest is up to you!
For some pics of the event, please visit