West Virginia adds habitat to Sutton Lake

Photo courtesy of Jerod Harman
Spider blocks, shown at front and behind the volunteers, were added to a West Virginia lake in March. Some of the volunteers included, from left, Jerod Harman, Jim Summers, Lenny Lewis, Jim Walker, Henry Chisholm and Aaron Yeager.

SUTTON, W.Va. — Spawning and nursery habitat improvements were made on one of West Virginia’s most popular tournament lakes this spring, courtesy of the West Virginia B.A.S.S. Nation (WVBN) and the Division of Natural Resources.

“Over the last several years, we have worked to re-establish native vegetation in the Baker’s Run area of Sutton Lake by installing several large native vegetation cages,” said Jerod Harman, state conservation director. “We also have constructed many artificial habitat structures.

“During the March project, we focused primarily on the installation of Fishiding artificial habitat.”

With the 1,500-acre reservoir drawn down 20 feet for winter pool, volunteers placed eight to 10 structures made from recycled materials inside each of three cages. Spider blocks were placed on the deeper perimeter of the cages, with pea gravel placed over dirt around the blocks.

“The blocks were strategically placed near the forks of a creek channel and will serve as spawning habitat,” Harman added.

“We normally complete our projects before April because the Corps maintains reservoirs at the lower winter pool levels, and this allows access for us before the water rises to summer pool.”

Following installation, workers performed maintenance on habitat previously placed in Baker’s Run.

“In previous projects, we have installed hundreds of spider blocks with gravel at different reservoirs,” the conservation director said. “We regularly see evidence of old beds at these structures.

“Because we know we can develop bedding areas, our new goal is not only to provide spawning habitat, but to entice bass fry into a protected nursery environment to increase survival rates. Our protective cages are located near the bedding area, and this will encourage the fry to develop inside the cages and feed on the algae that the Fishiding structures will produce.”

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