New Permanent Fish Structures Added to the Lake

Last summer, Chip Christensen, owner of Chip’s Marine five miles south of Sullivan just off Route 32 at the entrance of Bo Woods Access Area, decided he wanted to “give back” to the lake. He contacted DNR specialist Lee Mitchell working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Shelbyville. They got together with the fisheries biologist Mike Mounce and discussed some fish structure Chip had researched called “Georgia cubes,” also the state where they originated. They’ve been used in several southern lakes with good results and Chip thought they’d work in Lake Shelbyville.

Mike and Chip modified the original design so they would attract some of the larger species in the lake as well as panfish, and to have a way to secure them so they wouldn’t move.

Now, they renamed them “Shelbyville cubes.”

Chip contacted some local anglers and last fall volunteers from Chip’s IDNR, the Corps of Engineers, J.P. Construction and the Springfield and Central Illinois Crappie Clubs, all got together and constructed 18 of the cubes. Last December, the Corps and IDNR marked appropriate areas and depths to place the cubes, and on December 10, Christensen, Mounce and some of the club members placed the cubes in the Bo Woods and Camp Camfield areas of the lake. Thirty more cubes were built and placed on March 18 this year during the annual Christmas tree drop, “Fish Habitat Day.”

The cubes are made of PVC and plastic tubing, are quite large and will last much longer than the Christmas trees.

Chip has a small model of one in the bait shop with a donation box for anyone who’s interested in helping. All donations are for materials to build more cubes. For information, call Chip Christensen at 217-728-2610 or email him at [email protected]

Each year they make maps of where the trees are placed, and now the cubes, but they only give them to the volunteers.

An organized effort of this type with the Corps and IDNR with permits is the only “legal” way to put anything in the lake.

As for the fishing, April should be very good with the water temperatures rising earlier than usual. We’ve been doing well on crappies since February. Now that it’s April, they should be in relatively shallow water around cover. Try around lay-downs, brush piles, stumps and rocks for holding areas.

During any stable weather patterns, they’ll be more active and might come after a bait. But after a cold front or any storm you may have to get in real close to the cover to get them out.

We fish with jigs, but if you feel better using minnows, go ahead. We had to fish slower with bobbers early, but this month we might be able to tight line, casting in and around the cover with jigs.

Some other species are picking up now like largemouths and walleyes. Again, during more stable weather, crankbaits and other faster baits are good for locating fish, but sometimes you might have to slow down with soft plastics to get closer into the cover.

Whatever you like to fish for, now is the time to get out there.