U.S. Army Corps of Engineers turning an old bridge into fish habitat

Lake Thurmond drying up

Lake Thurmond is 6 feet below where it should be thanks to drought conditions. (WRDW-TV / Sept. 1, 2011)

Friday, July 25th, 2014

MCCORMICK CO. (WRDW)- If you like to fish, good news, you may have a new favorite fishing hole soon. Army Corps of Engineers are trying to attract more fish into the water using an old bridge.

Hard hats, vests, boots, and sounds of a construction site are on the highway 378 bridge.
Workers are taking remnants from a bridge demolition and putting it in Lake Thurmond.
"It's almost like the ocean that they go out and put artificial reef down to attract fish and increase populations. It's the same concept here," said Chris Spiller with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Pieces of rubble up to 5 feet larger are going from the bridge and into the water which will create somewhat of a reef and bring a lot more bigger fish into these waters.

"There are nooks and crannies all down there and natural algae grows on there and attracts smaller fish and they also like it for shade and protection and that inturn attracts predatory fish," said Spiller.

Sheldon Hice is a competitive fisherman, and actually won 2nd place in a tournament on Lake Thurmond. He says once the structures are finished he'll definitely be coming out more in hopes of a big catch.

"The Corps of Engineers putting a structure in the water will be perfect for the summer time bass fishing," said Hice.

The Corps will submerge pieces of concrete in four spots on the lake, and once they're all in, the Corps will post their gps coordinates so anyone can find them and hopefully the fish.
Something Hice is most excited about.

It's actually hard to find structures unless your out scouting and running and idling around looking at deep waters, and they releasing the coordinates people will be able to find it and actually enjoy it because its easy to find," said Hice.

The Corps says their goal is to get better catches and bring more fisherman to these waters,
and when they saw an opportunity with the new bridge coming in they took it.

"Basically it was a win win all the way around they got rid of some material they need to get rid of and its going to be a great thing for fisheries here on Thurmond," said Spiller.

The Corps of Engineers will have crews out working until late August.
They'll be out working early morning and afternoons on the weekends, so boaters stay away from those construction areas near the highway 378 bridge, the mouth of Soap Creek and the mouth of Little River.

The website where you can find the fish attractor coordinates is
www.sas.usace.army.mil/lakes/thurmond.


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