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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Christmas Trees Help Lake Shelbyville

More than 150 volunteers dumped more than 400 Christmas trees in Lake Shelbyville this weekend. It's all part of the Fish Habitat Improvement Project, which is meant to provide cover and help fish live longer lives. In turn, that helps anglers get a better catch of the day. 

The community provides the old trees, which, we're told, need to be replenished each year to keep doing the job.

"It sure smells like Christmas," Fish Habitat Improvement Project volunteer Ken Wilson said.                 

But this is a different tradition.

"We did find one ornament that somebody forgot, so we got your ornament," Wilson said. "Whosever it is.”

More than 400 former decorations are now the shelter of Lake Shelbyville.

“As lakes age they start losing their cover," Fish Biologist Mike Mounce said. "And that results in less places for the fish to find what we call habitat."

But just like the fish, this habitat will not live forever.

“They only last about five years,” Mounce said, in reference to the Christmas trees after they are submerged under the water.

Every year the community bundles together in hopes of replenishing the lake.

“Look forward to it every year," volunteer Wilbur Miller said. "Really enjoy it."

"It's particularly important for adult fish," Mounce said. "They need what we call ambush points."              

That way, the fish can catch their prey. Unfortunately for them, they are not the only ones doing the ambushing.

“It's nice to know where they put all the Christmas trees, and they'll give you a map at the end of the day," Wilson said.

“I would say it probably has about a 20 percent difference in the increase in amount of fish I catch,” Miller said.  

You may remember poorer fishing conditions this summer, primarily because of the drought, the heat and low lake levels.                

The fisherman at Lake Shelbyville today said they're hoping for a better catch this coming season, and, as always, they think the Christmas trees will help.       

This program has been happening for the last 32 years. They had the largest turnout ever this year. There were 150 volunteers, plus the Lake Shelbyville U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.           

The event has been happening for the last 32 years. This year was the largest turnout ever with more than 150 volunteers and the Lake Shelbyville U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.        

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