Fish cribs will be constructed by Exeland Rod and Gun Club volunteers. They will sink them in the water. The fish crib project is planned using as a model the DNR supported fish habitat projects of 2002 - present on the Chetek and Pokegama Lakes. ( http://www.cheteklakespa.org/fishcribs.htm )
Pallets will be donated by various companies in our area and trucked to the construction site at club expense. Cinderblock, clips and strapping will be purchased/donated to build the cribs. Pallets are modified (slats removed), sized and piled (stacks of five) and the “sandwich” is strapped/banded together banded (with plastic strapping). Each will have will have four cement blocks of 55 lbs. attached to each crib with aluminum wire as ballast.
200 (5 per crib) pallets - donated
160 (4 per crib) cinderblock - donated/reduced cost
plastic/nylon strapping - clips $200.00 - $500.00
small lake size and the compact footprint of the individual proposed
cribs allow us to capitalize on our construction plan to minimize
impact on any shoreline or other areas.
Pallets, Cinder Blocks and fastening equipment will be staged in an empty lot well away from the lakeshore or any beach areas. The crib structures will be constructed and deployed individually.
A tilting construction platform will be built on the front deck of a volunteer’s pontoon. Five (5) pallets and four cinder blocks will be brought to the pontoon “barge platform” for assembly.
A pallet will be established as a base and four cinder blocks will be affixed with aluminum wire to the corners. Four (4) additional pallets will be stacked atop this base and will be secured with plastic strapping essentially assembling a “sandwich” of ballasted structure.
This construction will then be transported by the pontoon to the lake location desired and the volunteer(s) will be able to tilt the construction platform to slide the crib off to it’s final deployment location. (Depth of water and other criteria will be double-checked at this time and gps coordinates will be recorded)
*Plan modeled as follows:
The first step is to accumulate wooden pallets. Pallets are donated by various companies in Wisconsin and trucked to the flowage at our expense. Cinderblock, clips and strapping must be purchased to build cribs. Cribs are constructed by layering pallets separated by cinderblocks on each comer until it is 3 or 4 pallets deep. Then the “sandwich” is strapped together. At other locations where such a project has been done,the cribs are loaded by tractor-forklifts onto special pontoon boats that have been totally stripped down to just bare decks. Workers then turn the pallet/cribs on edge to stuff in brush. It takes a lot of brush to fill each crib. Accumulating brush and stuffing the cribs is actually one of the hardest parts of the job. Finally , when the pontoon is totally loaded, the captain and workers shove off and the cribs are dropped off into new crib locations.
Before beginning construction, plan out how you will get the completed fish crib onto the boat and also from the boat and into the water. You may want to consider constructing the crib on the pontoon boat deck to minimize moving, because it will be very heavy. Also pick a spot in a freshwater lake to sink your crib. It should be approximately fifteen feet deep, which can be measured with a depth finder or tape measure. It should also be easy to locate and access--and it should not be placed near a dock or private or public beach.
Lay one pallet flat wherever you decide to build. Place a cinder block on each of the four corners of the pallet and cover with a second pallet. Continue building this "sandwich" until all pallets and cinder blocks have been used.
Bind all the layers together very, very tightly. Thick, durable plastic bands are ideal. Metal will rust with time and may eventually break. Bungee cords will hold up well, but they must be wrapped around the frame as tight as possible to prevent the construction from falling apart as it is hoisted into the water.
If the crib was constructed off of the boat, load it onto the boat using several strong people or a forklift, if available. Launch the boat and navigate to the area you want to place the crib. Drop anchor.
Two or more strong people should carefully push the crib into the water, moving and lowering it gently to prevent the construction from coming apart. It should be dropped so that it will settle on the bottom right side up, just as you constructed it.