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Tree planting

Employees of the BLM Cody Field Office and Wyoming Game and Fish Department drag Christmas trees across Mayland Reservoir near Emblem.

CODY, Wyo. — With temperatures hovering near zero, a group of Bureau of Land Management Cody Field Office and Wyoming Game and Fish Department personnel hauled dozens of Christmas trees across the frozen surface of Mayland Reservoir last month to improve fish habitat.

Groups of trees were tethered to concrete blocks which will sink, with the trees in tow, once the ice melts this spring.

Christmas trees have long been recycled in water bodies that lack structure and depth changes. The sunken trees will provide important cover for fish and much-needed nutrition as the plant decomposes, spurring the growth of algae which forms the foundation for the food chain.

“It’s good to get some complexity to the habitat and it also helps attract fish,” said Joe Skorupski, WGFD fisheries biologist. “That’s really the goal — to bring fish to these areas so people have good opportunities to find fish close to shore.”

The fish species present in Mayland Reservoir, located south of Emblem, are largemouth bass, green sunfish/bluegill hybrid, yellow perch and tiger muskie. All of the species are attracted to submerged trees which concentrate them for angling.

The city of Cody and Cody Rotary Club sponsor the Christmas tree recycling program, where the trees for this project were collected.