SARATOGA — Thanks to some quick thinking and a little groundwork, several bundles of PVC pipe will now play a helpful role in fishing instead of wasting away in a landfill in southwest Arkansas. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission fisheries biologists recently added several large fish habitat structures in Lake Millwood constructed of leftover pipe destined for the dump.
Colton Dennis, fisheries habitat biologist for the AGFC in south Arkansas, worked with several fiber optic contractors in the area who were laying long-lasting PVC pipe to house underground transmission lines along highways to rural Arkansas communities.
“The pipe comes in large spools and we asked what they were doing with any scrap pipe left over at the end of a run,” Dennis said. “When they informed us they were just hauling it to a local landfill if it couldn’t be used, we spotted an opportunity.”
Dennis said many contractors agreed to leave any of these leftover sections in their local equipment yard until AGFC staff could get out to pick up the material.
“We cut the pipe into 6-foot sections and drill holes in it to help it sink,” Dennis said. “Then we construct complex cover filled with vertical and horizontal “limbs” to attract fish. The whole structure is anchored with concrete to keep it in place.”
Although Millwood is known for having many stumps, these large attractors offer many more spaces for baitfish to hide and predator fish to wait in ambush. These structures also are attractive to fish because they offer a different type of cover than much of their surroundings.
“So far, we’ve placed nearly 50 of these PVC trees at prime bank-fishing spots near Cottonshed, Saratoga and Beards Bluff accesses,” Dennis said. “The exact locations of these trees have been marked by GPS and will be available soon on the AGFC’s interactive map at www.agfc.com/maps.”
The PVC used in these structures is an inert material that lasts for decades and doesn’t harm the environment where it is placed.
“It’s also much more friendly to bank anglers than some of our traditional brush piles,” Dennis said. “The PVC’s surface is hard and slick, so it significantly reduces the chance of an angler snagging and needing to break off their line.”
Visit www.agfc.com/maps to learn the locations of these and the thousands of other fish attractors placed throughout the state by the AGFC.