An electroshock fish study conducted in July last year provided three management options that can be used to improve fishing conditions for Lake Auman.
Those options involve adding submerged cover and structure, supplemental forage fish stocking and increased supplemental feeding.
According to the report, the main limiting factor that can be addressed for Lake Auman is submerged cover and structure.
A cedar tree fish habitat project was suggested at a Lake Auman Sports Club meeting after discussions took place on how to address the recommendations from the study, especially the need for the increased cover needed in our lake.
Project research was completed and a proposal to create cedar tree habitats and cover was presented to the SLW Lake Committee and approved. Board of Directors approval was granted for an initial test area to be created and monitored for six months to determine if any adverse impact results from the submerged cedar trees and to ensure the structures remain stationary.
Monthly water clarity measurements will be taken and underwater divers will monitor the site once a month to determine if there is any movement. The trees were each weighed down with 100-140 pounds of concrete block and secured with chains to keep them stationary.
Long time SLW resident Charlie Flinchum offered the LASC as many cedar trees as needed for the project from his Eagle Springs property. Cedar trees are long lasting and the branches provide cover and their surface is ideal for proto plankton microorganisms to grow as a source of food for small fish.
Recently, a team of volunteers from the Lake Auman Sports Club and some others from the Seven Lakes West community got together for a two-day project. Day one was to cut and gather the cedar trees to be used to construct the fish habitat structures.
The trees used were 8-10 feet tall, 6-8 feet wide. On the second day, these were then sunk in a small area, approximately 20 feet deep, in Lake Auman to begin the test project.
When sunk, the trees lay on their side with the ends of the branches 10 to 12 feet below the surface safely away from swimmers and boaters. The site selected, which is outside of the designated ski area, was recommended by a group of five avid fishermen who know the lake well.
From a fishery perspective, the results are already very promising. Recently, Adam Miniccuci surveyed the test area using his fishing boat’s advanced electronics and found numerous fish are already relating to the cedar tree structures. If the structures remain stationary and no adverse effects are experienced, plans are to expand this LASC initiative to seven similar additional areas around the lake.
Members of the volunteer work teams included:
- Cutting and gathering the trees: Cary Bliss, Wade Bliss, Charlie Flinchum, Tom Kalio, Andy Miller, Adam Minicucci, Don Smith and Jeff Timmons.
- Sinking the trees: Jeff Brisson, Tom Gaffney, Bill McCord, Andy Miller, Adam Minicucci and his son Kierce, Don Smith and his grandson Ryan Lovett and Jeff Timmons.
On hand both days to help photograph and document the project was LASC photographer Steve Reid. The project was researched and organized by Don Smith.