Mackinac County — Using volunteers, 100 cords of hardwood, more than 2,500 cement blocks and 418 Christmas trees, the Straits Area Sportsmen’s Club (SASC) and Brevort Lake Association put the finishing touched on an 11-year project designed to improve fish habitat.
“It’s been rotten this year,” said SASC President Louis Colegrove, “Real bad conditions — a lot of slush.”
Colegrove added that was especially tough on the core group of volunteers.
“Most of our guys are in their 70s and 80s,” he said, but that did not deter them from completing their task.When the ice melts later in the spring and the final string sinks in the center of the lake — roughly defined as southwest of Davis Road — the work crews will be responsible for 209 new fish cribs.“Brevort’s a pretty barren lake,” said Colegrove of the need for the project as large swaths of the lake bottom are comprised solely of sand with little other structure or growth.The cribs, which stand 4- to 5- feet high, will provide long-term habitat for a variety of fish species living in the lake.Colegrove said fisheries biologists have given varying estimates regarding the life span of the new reefs and, from that information, he believes they will last somewhere between 50 and 100 years. He also noted that remnants of some of the reefs placed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s still remain on the lake bottom to this day.Colegrove was quick to credit Nelson Logging of Rexton and the Hiawatha National Forest Stewardship program for the 8’ X 8’ sections of hard maple and birch utilized in the construction.“That saved us a thousand dollars right there,” said Colegrove.Maverick Construction, Inc. of St. Ignace was also a key player over the past two years, donating all of the cement blocks required to sink the cribs.The avid angler says he is looking forward to visiting the reefs on future outings, adding that assisting fisheries biologists with various research projects on Brevort has really opened his eyes to this body of water’s potential.“You can’t believe the fish that are in that lake,” he concluded.By Scott Brand