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Fish Attractors

Fish attractors are man-made habitats designed to attract fish by providing substrate, or feeding locations and shelter for young fish and other small aquatic animals. They help increase anglers’ success by concentrating fish in identifiable areas.

The process of using fish attractors may be illegal in your area or may require a license. Use Our Google Search Feature to find information on using Fish Attractors in your State.


Simply click in the text box above, press the end button on your keyboard and then type in your State. Now click the Google Search Button.

You will need to search through the Google database and find your best answers.


Brush Piles   Stake Beds    Evergreen Trees    Porcupine Fish Attractors    Fishing Light Attractor


Some ponds and reservoirs contain little or no natural underwater structure. Ponds treated with aquatic herbicides are essentially without any type of vegetation that could provide structure for fish. Natural structure may also be lacking because age has decayed any remaining timber and fluctuating water levels prevent growth of submerged vegetation. Placement of artificial structure in ponds and reservoirs is an effective way to concentrate fish. In the absence of structure, fish are often widely dispersed or travel in hard-to-locate groups known as schools. Angling is often difficult when fish exhibit these behaviors. Research has shown that artificial structures can concentrate fish and increase angling success.

The guidelines listed below are based on five years of research conducted in an Ohio reservoir. Many conclusions are applicable to small ponds as well.

Materials for Structure of Fish Attractors

Three of the most commonly used materials were evaluated: 
  • brush piles

  • stake beds
  • evergreen trees
There are also two types of Fish Attractors on the market today:

While all three materials evaluated in study attracted satisfactory numbers of fish, anglers typically caught more fish from evergreen structures. It was not unusual on any given day for anglers to catch five to ten times more fish from these trees as compared to the other materials.
The brush pile structure is easy to construct but angler success was much lower than with evergreen trees.

Evergreen trees are readily available during the three weeks after Christmas. Individuals wishing to add structure to their own private ponds can use their own tree and obtain additional trees from neighbors. The larger size of a reservoir will require the placement of considerably more trees to serve more anglers. Fishing clubs or groups of anglers may want to join together to plan a reservoir project. The largest source of Christmas trees is the thousands collected by public workers in residential areas. Contact your local government offices to arrange for use of these discarded trees.

Attracting Fish Species

Bluegill, redear sunfish, largemouth bass and channel catfish are the species most commonly stocked in ponds. All four species should use evergreen trees in ponds if the pond is largely void of other structure.

Reservoirs usually contain many species of fish. During the study, bluegills, white crappies and black crappies comprised about 90 percent of the total catch from the artificial structures. Lesser numbers of largemouth bass, yellow perch and channel catfish were also caught.

How Deep to Place the Structures


Place evergreen trees in 6 to 10 feet of water in areas not used for swimming activities. In deep ponds, placement should still be in 6 to 10 feet of water because the deep water is usually devoid of oxygen due to decomposition of organic materials that collect in the deepest portion of the pond. Structure placed in water lacking oxygen will not attract fish.


Structure should be placed in 12 to 21 feet of water in reservoirs. Angling for bluegills is most successful when fishing 12 foot deep structure. White and black crappie catches are greatest from 21 foot deep structure, especially in summer and early fall. Shallower structure, such as that placed in 6 feet of water, will attract harvestable fish only in the spring. Beginning in June, these shallower structures are used mostly by very small fish.

How Much Structure to Add


In a pond, a structure to attract fish need only consist of a few trees. Using more than 100 trees per surface acre can inhibit largemouth bass predation on bluegills, which results in a large but stunted bluegill population.


In reservoirs, create long lines of trees, three to four trees wide, extending from 12 feet to 21 feet of water. The actual number of trees needed will depend on the bottom slope of the area where the structures are to be placed. Steep-sloped areas require fewer trees to construct a 12 to 21 feet deep tree line. Thus, for the same number of evergreen trees, more tree lines can be created in steep sloping areas than in areas with gradual slopes.

Tree lines are easier for anglers to locate than smaller isolated structures. They also provide continuous lines of structure that allow anglers to fish various depths depending on where the fish are at any given time.

Construction and Placement

Individuals or groups need to obtain permission before placing trees in ponds or reservoirs. This is particularly important for reservoirs where improperly placed floating trees can be a serious hazard for boaters. Contact your State's Division of Wildlife for permission and direction before placing structure in reservoirs.

To prepare an evergreen tree for use as structure, gather these materials: 
  • one evergreen tree

  • one 8 inch concrete construction block
  • 24 inch piece of wire
  • power drill with a 1/4 inch drill bit
  • pair of pliers.

  • Drill two holes, 9 inches apart at the bottom of the tree trunk. 

  • Slide the trunk through the hole in the block. 
  • Run the wire through the tree's bottom hole, around the outside of the block, and through the top hole on the trunk.
  • Twist the two ends of the wire several times, using the pliers if necessary. The wire should be heavy enough to prevent breakage during the twisting.

Attachment of concrete block to evergreen tree

The easiest method for submerging evergreen trees in ponds is to place them on the ice during winter and let them sink when the ice melts. This method is not recommended for reservoirs, however. Melting ice moves around and could dump the structure in an unintended location. In large bodies of water, evergreen trees with attached cement blocks should be placed by dropping them from the side of the boat. This is best done during warm spring weather.


The placement of evergreen trees in ponds and reservoirs where natural structure is lacking will attract fish and increase angling success. Evergreen trees placed in ponds should be located between the depths of 12 and 21 feet. These lines should be placed on steeper slopes so as to allow creation of several lines from the collected number of trees. Permission from the pond owner or your State Department of Natural Resources-Division of Wildlife (reservoirs) must be obtained before placing trees.

Information provided above was research done by William E. Lynch Jr. and David L. Johnson

Porcupine Fish Attractors

Cedars Bill Dance Porcupine Fish Attractor

In the 21st Century, fishermen and fishing products have come to focus more and more on innovation and efficiency. At Porcupine Fish Attractors they claim to have now produced the most innovative fish attractor available on the market today, with the sole purpose of improving your fish catching efficiency.

Claims made by Porcupine Fish Attractors:

  • Porcupine Fish Attractors improve spawning habitat while providing valuable structure for all species of fish in all size lakes.

  • From farm ponds to big reservoirs, these fish attractors help anglers, biologists, and professional lake management companies enhance quantity and quality. Used by professional guides, tournament anglers, and more to attract fish to specific locations.

  • Works great around piers, boathouses, docks, or main lake creek channels and flats. Designed to help you catch fish without losing hooks or lures.

  • Easily assembled and installed. Stays put. Shows up good on LCR and flasher sonar units. Mark your spots with GPS or landmarks for both night and ice fishing trips.

  • Fish relate to them quickly as algae and plankton form to attract baitfish, luring larger fish to their locale. Provides refuge and shade to young fish too, increasing survival rates.

  • Make great fishing spots out of unproductive waters. Doesn't deteriorate when submerged. Environmentally friendly.

Fishing Light Attractor

A fishing light attractor is a fishing aid which uses lights attached to structure above water or suspended underwater to attract both fish and members of their food chain to specific areas in order to harvest them.

Just as fisherman seek conditions where the chance of catching fish is optimized, fish seek areas where the chance of catching their food is optimal. Most game fish seek waters that are rich in food such as smaller fish, insects or shrimp. And, it follows, that these smaller fish, insects and shrimp congregate where their food is most concentrated.

Scientific research shows that all members of this food chain have eyes sensitive to the colors blue and green. This probably evolved because the water these animals live in is blue or greenish in color. Water, containing little particulate matter, scatters light in the blue region of the spectrum. If water is rich in nutrients and contains photosynthetic microorganisms and plants, the chlorophyll in their bodies preferentially absorb red light. The remaining, unabsorbed light is transmitted and scattered, thus giving the water a greenish appearance. If water contains a lot of organic material from decaying plant life or suspended sediment, it may take on a yellow-brown color.

Fish and some members of their food chain have color receptors in their eyes optimized for the light of their "space".

It has been known for a long time that a light attracts fish, shrimp and insects at night. But what is the best color for a light attractor? Based on the biology of visual receptors discussed above, the light should be blue or green - the space colors of fish and members of their food chain. However, while blue or green light is desirable it is not essential. Even if the eyes of fish or members of its food chain have color receptors most sensitive to the blue or green, these same receptors have a broad but decreased sensitivity to other colors. So, if a fishing light source is intense enough, other light colors will also attract. For example, a sodium vapor light with its characteristic yellow color will attract fish - if intense enough. A fishing light attractor can also be white light because a portion of its total energy is in the blue to green region.

The perfect fishing light would have the following properties: 
  1. high intensity

  2. emit its light in a color similar to the fishes space (blue or green)
  3. be powered by a portable electrical supply
  4. be submersible.
The last attribute is desirable because significant amounts of light energy from land or boat mounted lights are lost by reflection off the surface of the water.

Source of Light 

LED, Fluorescent, Incandescent 

Color of Light

Nearly any color of light can work. The most effective are the colors that are most natural to the fish and their food chain. Green colors seem to be the consensus for the color that is most natural and will attract the most fish.

Wattage - Intensity of Light

In general you want the most wattage for the greatest intensity. Cost of operation will vary based on the source: LED then Fluorescent then Incandescent. LED is most efficient and uses less energy to operate. Lumen is the term used to quantify intensity or brightness. Presentation projectors often use bulbs that are between 2,000 and 3,000 lumens. You don't need your attractor to be that bright, but shop and compare.

Portable Fish Attractors


We have several Submersible Underwater Dock Lights in Our FUNdamentals Fishing Store. Here is one - Hydro Glow Fish Lights the Hydro Glow Fish Light Is Made to Stand up to the Rigors of Salt Water Fishing As Well As Fresh Water. This is a 1' long, 3 sided, LED submersible light, only ½ amp.
Type Underwater Dock Light in the search box to view more.

The name says it all - this light is designed to be transported with you, affixed to the side of your boat or dock while you are there. You will need a power source for this portable device. In most cases that will be the 12 volt accessory battery on your boat. If you do not have a way to charge your accessory battery then you may find that you are limited in the length of time you can use your portable fish attractor. Your length of use will be determined mainly by the power source and the wattage or intensity of the light itself.

Permanently Affixed

This option offers the most effective way of attracting fish. While security lights on a pole at or near docks will act on this food chain - much of this light source is actually lost by reflection when it hits the surface of the water. The most effective means would be to invest in a system that is submersible.

A permanently fixed fishing light attractor is most effective if it is operated every night. It takes to a week or two for larger fish to discover the increasing concentration of bait fish attracted to the light. Once discovered, the fish return regularly - often arriving at predictable times of the evening.


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It is important that people who fish follow all fishing rules and regulations.
These rules help conserve fish populations and also help anglers be successful.
Regulations may limit the size of, number of, and season that a type of fish may be caught, and may require a license to fish. In some cases, only “catch and release” fishing is allowed, which means the fish must be let go. Some bait is illegal in certain areas.
Contact your state wildlife agency by visiting Our Rules and Regulations Page.

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