The 2011 Fish Crib Project went well on Tuesday the 25th of January. This year we had the assistance of some prison inmates from the Chippewa Falls prison. Due to restrictions we could not employ the use of a skidsteer for doing the heavy lifting so the inmates had to handle the very heavy logs by hand (looks like they did a great job!)
Thanks to all the others, that we don't mention by name, that did the drilling, hauling, stacking, nailing, and any other "grunt work" that made this possible for the Club to accomplish our project.
Volunteers build, assemble, and install fish cribs to develop fish habitat for all species of fish that thrive in Lake Wissota. The project first took place in 1982, and in the 29 years of crib building only 6 years were the cribs not placed. There must be enough solid ice to safely support the weight of logs, equipment, and the people assembling the cribs. Due to lake level fluctuations our permits require cribs to be in 20' of water. With new agreements with N.S.P. we should be able to place new cribs in shallower water.
The club tries to build an average of 25 cribs per year and one year built 61! Roughly 700 cribs have been placed to date. Log cribs are approximately 8 ft. sq. and 7' tall made mostly of oak logs. In earlier years the club used logs with the bark still intact, but now the club tries to get veneer logs. Each crib requires 16 logs, which amounts to over 400 logs on an average year. If oak logs are not available, hard maple and yellow birch, which have a tendency to float, are used.
Here's how it works: Logs are unloaded from a semi trailer, hauled to the lake site, drilled, assembled and capped. A 8 ft. by 5/8 inch ready rod is used to pin the stacked logs in place. A woven fence is attached to the bottom of the crib, and another woven fence on the top to protect the small fish that will inhabit the inside. The cribs are hauled to various locations to deep water in areas of the lake where there is not a natural fish habitat or weed beds. The cribs are left on the ice until spring when the ice thaws, when they then sink.
Conscientious outdoor men and woman of the club want to ensure that our natural resources can thrive. This project brings people together, helps preserve all aquatic species in the lake, and money needed to fund the project is spent in our own community.