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Fish Habitats Along the Shoreline

If you're looking to draw fish to a specific area or increase populations, try enhancing the fish habitat in your area. An appropriate structure provides a home for fish, improves the lake's ecosystem, and is the building block for good fishing.

Consider placing the structure at various depths. Shallow water structures (less than 12 feet) provide a place for algae, insects, and small fish to flourish. Deeper water structures attract larger fish but don't increase overall numbers.

For additional assistance, contact the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Items to consider before installation

Water depths will fluctuate. View historic water elevations before installing to ensure your structure is placed at an appropriate depth and won’t cause navigational problems when water levels are low.
Only place habitats under your dock or within your extended property line with the exception of the 15-foot setback from each extended property or dock delineation line.

Approved Structures

Natural
  • Bundled woody debris
  • Submerged trees
  • Native vegetation
Artificial
  • Mossback Fish Habitat
  • Honey Hole Trees and Shrubs
  • American Fish Trees®
  • Spider blocks
  • Wooden pyramid

Prohibited Structures

  • Tires
  • Metal products (except cable needed to bundle woody debris)
  • Environmentally harmful products

Want to install a habitat?A permit is required. Submit your information and if accepted, a permit will be mailed to you.

Wooden Pyramid

These pyramids should be placed under the stationary portion of a dock so they do not become a navigational hazard. Wooden pyramids can be made using 1 x 1" or 2 x 2" lumber.Advantages: Cost, ease of construction.
Disadvantages: Placement flexibility, deterioration over time.

Bundled Woody Debris

Use cable or nylon rope with cinder blocks for anchors. Wrap the cable around the base of the collected debris or trees, weave the cable through the cinder block to the starting point and tie. Secure the cable ends with cable clips. Advantages: Cost, availability of materials (recycling Christmas trees).
Disadvantages: Potential loss of lures due to snags, deterioration over time.

Spider Blocks

Utilize cinderblock, concrete and black piping to make multiple spider blocks. Consider grouping a minimum of 5 blocks in a single location for a larger habitat. Advantages: Cost, less likely to snag fishing lines.
Disadvantages: Lack of protection for small fish, higher chance of theft in shallow water.