N.C. club helps enhance Sutton Lake habitat

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Bass Angling Southern Style Fishing Club members helped North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission biologists sink artificial fish attractors and Christmas trees to enhance fish habitat at Sutton Lake.

JACKSONVILLE, N.C.—The Bass Angling Southern Style Fishing Club teamed with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to place fish attractors in Sutton Lake on Feb. 25.

The B.A.S.S. Nation club made up of many active duty or retired Marines and Navy seaman have held benefit tournaments and installed fishing line recycling bins at Sutton Lake and other lakes in the past, according to Club Vice President Coy Riggins. “We strive to help out in communities and do better for the local waterways,” he said.“This year we wanted to do a little more with helping out the environment.”

Club President Jeffrey Farmer and Riggins suggested the club should work with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to sink Christmas trees in Sutton Lake to improve fish habitat there. Riggins e-mailed Commission Fisheries Biologist Clint Morgeson and discovered the commission was already planning a fish attractor project, so they decided to combine their efforts on a habitat enhancement project.

After conducting a sonar survey of the lake’s fish attractor sites, commission biologists determined the sites were degraded and needed replacement. The biologists decided to replenish the sites with Mossback Trophy Tree artificial fish attractors because they believed the artificial attractors were more durable and longer lasting than Christmas trees.

The commission purchased 12 Mossback Trophy Tree attractors for the project and Riggins gathered Christmas trees from friends and the Marine base at Camp Lejeune. “We brainstormed on locations to put each thing,” Riggins said. “(Morgeson) wanted the Mossbacks at certain locations. As a fisherman I know the lake pretty well and have fished it for three years now. I know where the fish stack up so I put a couple (Christmas) trees on those spots.”

The commission provided one boat for the project while Riggins and the club’s tournament director, Scott Shaw, used their bass boats to sink the artificial fish attractors and Christmas trees.