Winter Project: Fish Habitat

Burlingame Lake landing

Temperatures have plummeted. The cleansing process that we call “Winter” has just begun. Our lakes are frozen over and for many, this is a time to embrace the opportunity to enjoy winter sports like snowmobiling, ice fishing and cross country skiing. But if you find yourself already longing for the new life that comes with Spring, consider this a good time to lay the groundwork for that process. It will help the time pass (although, careful what you wish for!) and can give you a productive project that you can feel good about.

We all know that keeping the shoreline in its natural state is the best thing for the life cycle and protection of many of our creatures in the Northwoods. But after a few years of exceptionally high water levels, many property owners are scratching their heads about what to do with the dead or dying trees that now pepper their shoreline.


We’ve heard from several owners who have a similar plan: drop the trees on solid, safe ice and easily (ha, ha) remove the branches and logs. That sounds efficient and effective. But rewind the tape here for a minute. What if you dropped a tree or two and just left them? Yes, just left them where they lie! Sure, you might get the “stink eye” from your neighbors at first. But when fishing season rounds the bend, you’ll be collecting pats on the back for creating habitat for fish, turtles, ducks and songbirds – and it’s practically free!

For a more official education on the process, you can refer to this link from the DNR.

And if you have no dead or dying trees, but still want to do your part, there’s an app for that – well, actually a link. Check out this information from the DNR about how you can create Fish Sticks in your lake.

Happy New Year! – Wanda Boldon