Fish Sticks

Trees assembled on lake to make Fish Stick bundle


Trees fall into lakes.  They always have.  And until about the dawn of the twentieth century they stayed where they fell, providing habitat for everything from the bottom of the aquatic food web to the top.  Research has shown that a single tree can support 15 or more species of fish simultaneously.  But shoreline development has changed all that, with most windfalls being removed, and with them the habitat they provide.  A good summary of studies in this field is in the UW-Stevens Point publication “A Second Life for Trees in Lakes.”

Fish Sticks is a program to help replace that habitat.  Fish sticks are composed of freshly cut live trees (live so they sink) cabled together in bundles of three to five trees, which are then placed perpendicular to the shoreline and
anchored by cable to a sturdy standing tree.  Several such bundles are
placed about 50 feet apart along the shoreline.  This is done in
winter time; at ice out the trees sink.

Fish Stick bundle in lake

LLPA, in partnership with Camp Tomahawk, constructed Long Lake’s first Fish Sticks project in 2015. A second project was constructed in early 2018.  Both projects are located along Scout property across the lake from Hank’s Landing, which is on Todd Road.

In 2019 a third Fish Sticks project was added.  This one is located close to the Scout Lodge on the “thumb” of Long Lake, near the tall flag pole.  In 2020 another was constructed nearby, this time in conjunction both with Camp Tomahawk and the Long Lake Chamber of Commerce.

In these projects the trees were able to be cut near the project sites on Camp Tomahawk land, where suitable trees are plentiful. Not all shoreline is suitable for fish sticks, and sometimes trees must be hauled in from other locations. If interested, find out more from DNR’s Fish Sticks brochure .