LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – A ranger at Bear Lake Reservoir is using Christmas Trees to help improve the ecosystem and fishing in the area.

The reservoir is a favorite spot of frequent fisher Adrian Alvarado but lately there’s been a problem — the fish.

“We caught a couple little ones, so sent them back,” said Alvarado.

It’s something that park ranger Luke Wilson wanted to change.

“Our fishing was becoming a little poor,” said Wilson.

He noticed how the recent floods and time had left the lake bed flat, not a good environment for fish to thrive in.

“The big predator fish were just eating the little fish and they had nowhere to hide,” said Wilson.

He spent the past winter making a plan and pulled together about 40 used Christmas trees through donations.

“First of all I drilled holes through the base of the tree. I dragged a cable through and attached cinderblocks to each tree,” said Wilson.

Beneath the water now sits the trees about 20 feet down providing cover to allow small fish the chance to become big fish.

“It’s protection cover, it’s kind of a little apartment complex for baby fish if you want to look at it that way,” said Wilson.

The idea has earned him one of Lakewood’s Annual Sustainability Awards for 2014.

“It’s great, I love it. I plan on doing it again next year and the year after that,” said Wilson.

Even though it will take some time for the population to rebound it’s time fishermen are happy to spend casting and waiting.

“It’s fishing, not catching,” said Alvarado.

Wilson will receive his award Monday night at the Lakewood City Council meeting.


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