There are many ways to recycle Christmas trees, but tossing them on a frozen
lake to create fish habitat may not be the best idea … and may require a
permit from the Indiana DNR.
“Fish attractors tend to bring fish and fishermen together,” said Bill
James, chief fisheries biologist for the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife.
“They provide cover but don’t necessarily grow more fish.”
Better options include taking the tree to a designated Christmas tree
recycling site in your community, tossing it in the backyard to provide
shelter for wintering birds, running it through a wood chipper to create
your own mulch, chopping it up for firewood.
Discarding a Christmas tree on a private pond is at the owner’s discretion,
but doing so on public freshwater lakes is governed by the Lake Preservation
Act (Indiana Code 14-26-2) and Indiana Administrative Code (312 IAC 11-4-7).
Those two laws require a license from the DNR to construct or place a fish
attractor in a public freshwater lake. To qualify, the fish attractor must
be anchored to ensure proper setting and must not be placed in a channel, a
beach area, near the lake surface or in an area that would adversely affect
public safety and navigation, or adversely affect the natural resources or
natural scenic beauty.
divisions – Fish & Wildlife, Law Enforcement, and Water – have a role in
reviewing and approving a permit request for placement of a fish attractor.
If approved, the permit carries a $100 fee and requires the permit holder to
remove any portion or portions of the fish attractor that become unattached.