Bass Pro Shops/National Fish Habitat Partnership U.S. Open Grant Program Funds Nine Projects in 2022

(Washington, DC) - The National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) announced today nine projects funded through a nearly $1.6 million grant program established through proceeds from the Bass Pro Shops U.S. Open Amateur Bass Fishing Championships held in 2021. The projects funded through this opportunity are high-priority focus areas of the Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership. These projects were selected out of 30 proposals from across the U.S.

The selected projects will bring over $3 million in total match funding in support of the Bass Pro Shops grant that will go directly to on-the-ground projects benefitting fish habitat and improving angling opportunities.

Projects funded through this opportunity include

Beaver Lake, Norfolk Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, Arkansas

The proposed project will directly benefit anglers by concentrating fish around fish habitat structures and improving angler success rates. Many of these natural structures in these lakes are degraded. New structures will provide habitat and refuge for fish and improve fishing.

Blue Marsh Lake, Pennsylvania

The shoreline projects through this grant will take areas that are unavailable or not favorable to shoreline anglers and turn them into fishing hot spots with easy angler access. The increased shoreline habitat will draw more fish to the project areas and allow anglers access to catch those fish. The stone-framed deflectors used in shoreline stabilization provide a stable platform for anglers to fish from, increasing the ease of use and enjoyment for many anglers.

Lake Shelbyville, Illinois

The success of this project will be gauged primarily by improved quality of the fishery, fish use of habitat structures, quality improvements, bank stabilization, and reduced sedimentation. Shoreline stabilization will also provide increased angler access.

Mark Twain Lake, Missouri

Through this grant, the installation of artificial structures at two locations will restore approximately 60 acres of underwater fisheries habitat. The artificial structures are constructed of PVC materials and concrete that provide long-term durability, are capable of withstanding the stresses of submerged and dry environments, and are designed to reduce snagging of traditional fishing tackle and equipment. The structures will be placed at differing elevations in the reservoir basin to provide stability and integrity. Furthermore, this project incorporates the development of direct shoreline access to the restoration site, which appeals to a broad demographic, including families, youth, senior citizens, and novice anglers.

Old Hickory Lake, Tennessee 

This project will benefit anglers by providing a substantial increase in access to quality fish habitat structures for anglers of all skill levels. Specifically, the project will add 400 artificial structures spread out among ten sites with a design that has a proven track record of attracting sportfish species. These sites will receive a special marker buoy as part of the new Bill Dance Fishing Trail in Tennessee and be specially chosen to increase angler success at various times throughout the year. Ten additional sites will receive two new 10-ft tall artificial attractors named Tennessee Towers. Ten large rock humps and two rock reefs approximately 75 ft in length will add offshore habitat for more experienced anglers. This diversity of habitat types will greatly increase the enjoyment and recreational opportunities for our anglers by providing new access to high-quality fishing locations.

Pymatuning Reservoir, Pennsylvania/Ohio

Pymatuning Reservoir is the largest impoundment in Pennsylvania at 17,088 acres. With 70 miles of shoreline along the reservoir, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is responsible for maintaining over 42 miles. The lake also includes 28 miles of shoreline in the state of Ohio. The reservoir was built on what used to be the largest swamp in Pennsylvania, and the former wetland soils are prone to erosion. Pymatuning Dam was completed in 1934, and as the lake continues to age, many miles are in need of stabilization to improve safe fishing access, better fish habitat, and water. The offshore fish habitat has also deteriorated over time. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has developed a fish habitat improvement plan in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. This plan includes shoreline stabilization structures that will enhance shoreline rock habitat for fish, increase safe angler access, and improve water quality.

Ralph Hall Reservoir, Texas

The large number of fish habitat structures constructed through this grant will provide popular areas for anglers to target for multiple decades and potentially the life of the reservoir. The habitat created will serve to increase the ultimate carrying capacity of sportfish in the reservoir, as well as angler success rate and overall yield of fish. Maps and the precise coordinates and descriptions of all fish habitat structures will be published online on Texas Parks and Wildlife fish habitat website and shared with the angling public.

Table Rock Lake, Missouri 

Through this grant, Table Rock Lake will be will replenished with 645 brushpiles to ensure they remain viable as fish attractors for anglers as well as serve as nursery habitats for sportfish recruitment. This project will enhance a pilot project through the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Bass Pro Shops, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2007. From 2007 to 2013, more than 2,100 megastructures were deployed on Table Rock Lake and Bull Shoals Lake using specialty-built habitat barges made by Tracker Boats.

Three-Mile Lake, Iowa

Through this grant, new natural fish habitat structures, including gravel spawning areas, rock piles, rock fields, and rock reefs, will be constructed to improve the fish habitat in Three-Mile Lake. In addition, over 1,300 feet of shoreline in critical need of repair will be deepened and fortified with rip rap gravel. This shoreline enhancement will prevent future erosion into the lake. In addition, the shoreline improvements will prevent future water quality issues and provide some additional underwater rock habitat for sportfish.

The funding for this grant program is managed through Beyond the Pond, the non-profit organization established in 2015 to benefit the National Fish Habitat Partnership and associated Fish Habitat Partnerships under NFHP.

"We are pleased today to announce these nine projects that will make a difference not only in conserving Reservoir and Lake Habitat but will also improve angling opportunities and experiences for many families and anglers," said Ed Schriever, Chairman of the National Fish Habitat Partnership. “The diversity of these projects across the country will touch a significant population and promote volunteerism and community involvement. These projects are truly a win-win for conservation and angling, and we couldn't do this work without the contributions of conservation-minded retailers like Bass Pro Shops. Thank you to Johnny Morris for supporting our nationwide effort to conserve fish habitat through such a significant event in the first-ever Bass Pro Shops U.S. Open Amateur. We hope this first-ever grant program will provide additional opportunities to work with partners in the future to conserve fish habitat."

The projects funded through the Bass Pro Shops/National Fish Habitat Partnership U.S. Open Grant Program will be completed by the end of 2023.