Help replenish fish habitats, donate Christmas tree

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Recycle that real Christmas tree after the holiday season by donating it for use by Kentucky’s underwater inhabitants.

Starting Dec. 26, the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources will accept natural Christmas trees at more than two dozen drop-off locations across the state for its annual Christmas for the Fishes program.

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Tree collection will continue between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily through Jan. 15, 2021.

Fish and Wildlife staff build habitat structures out of the Christmas trees and submerge them in public waters. This makes great refuge and feeding habitat for game fishes, as well as their prey – small fish and invertebrates that are crucial for a thriving ecosystem.

“Every year, we use thousands of donated trees to create fish attractors that provide hotspots of fish activity,” said Joseph Zimmerman, habitat program coordinator for the department. “Depending on the depth and location, these Christmas tree sites attract everything from small baitfish and bluegill to large bass and crappie.

“Most of these fish attractors are placed in readily accessible lakes located within parks or other public lands that offer opportunities to get outdoors and social distance while helping Kentucky’s fish populations.”

Nearly 4,500 trees are donated each year. Trees must be free of all lights, tinsel, ornaments and any other decorations. Limbs, wreaths, brush or other plants are not accepted.

Visit fw.ky.gov to view photos and videos of Christmas tree fish attractors or to find out where trees and other fish attractors have been placed in 36 lakes across the state.