Patoka Lake is a 8,800-acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) flood control impoundment located approximately 22 mi east of Jasper, Indiana (Dubois County).
The lake and adjacent land is co-managed by the COE and Indiana DNR Division of Parks. Fluctuating water levels, shoreline composed of rock debris and clay and steep littoral grade adversely affects the presence of submerged aquatic vegetation, shoreline vegetation (trees and shrubs) and woody debris. This lack of littoral zone habitat obviously has had an adverse effect on reproduction and cover for fishes of the Centrarchidae family.
Having recognized this problem, Indiana DNR, in 2015, selected Patoka as their 2019/2021 project lake for their Reservoir Habitat Enhancement Program. The objective is to build and place 310 artificial structures at 11 locations around the lake.
A habitat enhancement plan was created by Indiana DNR and partners that outlined timeline, budget, types of structures to be used, and placement locations. An agency meeting and partner meetings were held to discuss specific location placements and logistics. The proposed plan calls for around 20 Pennsylvania porcupine junior cribs, 60 Pennsylvania porcupine cribs, 220 pallet structures, 60 Pennsylvania Black Bass nesting structures and 40 Hoosier cubes (modified Georgia cubes) to be placed in the reservoir at depths 5-16 ft (summer pool). This project will enhance approximately 33 acres of aquatic habitat. IDNR and partners began work in 2019 to construct and deploy structures. So far 218 Indiana pallet structures, 18 Hoosier cubes (PVC cubes), and 250 trees have been felled. A volunteer build day was held in 2019 and to date over 150 volunteer hours have been donated to the project. Past flooding at the reservoir has killed many trees around the shoreline which are now being felled for fish structure. The Tri-County Bass Anglers will use the $1000 grant to purchase materials to for between 10 to 15 Hoosier Cubes, 16 Moss Back Root Wads.