Once the wrapping paper has been thrown away and the last drop of egg nog has been consumed, few people have a use for that evergreen tree that graced their home during the holiday season. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has a new job for those leftover trees – as fish habitat.
The AGFC has drop-off locations across the state to let your old Christmas tree have a second life as underwater cover.
Clint Coleman, assistant coordinator for the AGFC's Family and Community Fishing Program, says the Christmas tree program functions just like a “take-a-penny, leave-a-penny” tray, except it's for fish.
“Anyone who wants to drop off a natural tree can place it at a location on the list, and anyone who wants to sink a few trees to create their own little honey hole can do that as well,” Coleman said. “You just need to bring your own parachute cord, wire, rope and cinder blocks to sink the trees.”
Coleman says artificial trees are not allowed at the drop off locations, and all trees should be cleaned of ornaments and tinsel before being dropped off.
Christmas trees typically only last a year or two before all that's left is the main trunk, so Coleman suggests anglers sink groups of trees together. This way, the site is still attractive to baitfish and sport fish long after the smaller branches and needles have rotted away.
Trees can be dropped off at any of the following locations until the end of January:
-Arkansas River – Alltel Access beneath the I-30 Bridge
-Greers Ferry Lake – Sandy Beach (Heber Springs), Devils Fork Recreation Area and Choctaw ----Recreation Area (Choctaw-Clinton)
-Lake Conway – Lawrence Landing Access
-Harris Brake Lake – Chittman Hill Access
-Lake Overcup – Lake Overcup Landing
-Lake Barnett – Reed Access
-Lake Hamilton – Andrew Hulsey State Fish Hatchery Access Area
-Jonesboro – Craighead Forest Park Lake boat ramp
-Lake Bono – Boat Ramp Access
-Lake Poinsett – Dam Access Boat Ramp
-Lake Walcott – Crowley's Ridge State Park Boat Ramp Access
-Beaver Lake – Highway 12 Access and AGFC Don Roufa Hwy 412 Access
-Lake Elmdale – Boat Ramp Access
-Bob Kidd Lake – Boat Ramp Access
-Crystal Lake – Boat Ramp Access
-Lake Chicot – Connerly Bayou Access Area
-Lake Monticello – Hunger Run Access
-Cox Creek Lake – Cox Creek Lake Access Area
-Bois d'Arc Lake – Kidd's Landing or Hatfield Access
-Millwood Lake – Cottonshed, White Cliffs Recreation Areas and the Millwood State Park ramp on the point
-Dierks Lake – Jefferson Ridge South Recreation Area
-DeQueen Lake – Any U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boat ramp
-Gillham Lake – Any U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boat ramp
-Lake Greeson – New Cowhide Cove and Self Creek Recreation areas
-Camden – AGFC Regional Office on Ben Lane
-Upper White Oak Lake – Upper Jack's Landing
-Magnolia – Columbia County Road Department Yard on Highway 371
-El Dorado – City recycling center drop-offs: one behind Arby's and one on South Jackson
-Smackover – Recycling Drop-Off Center (these will be transported to El Dorado)
-South Fork Lake – South Fork Lake Access
-Terre Noire Lake – Terre Noire Lake Access
-Hope – AGFC Regional Office on Hwy. 67 East