How to Build Fish Cribs for Habitat

The approximate cost of a crib is about $10.00 each, and now there is a new way to help purchase cribs for Lake Chippewa Flowage. In the summer of 2002 friends of the flowage will have the opportunity to purchase $10.00 raffle tickets. A drawing will be held in October and the lucky winners will be able to schedule a free day with a local fishing guide for 2003.
The Chippewa Flowage was created over 75 years ago. In those 75 years many trees and stumps that harbored food and shelter for fish have disappeared through natural decay. Realizing the structure must be replaced for a healthy fishery, the Lake Chippewa Resort Association, along with the Chippewa Flowage Area Property Owners Association started building and placing fish cribs in Flowage waters. Since March 1996 over 2500 cribs have been built and placed by volunteers from these associations. Building Cribs:

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 this point 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.

Meanwhile other volunteers are cooking and serving food and beverages to the hungry workers. A master map is kept by the associations, but not published. After all, the cribs are for the fish, not the fishermen!

Crib building is an on-going project. Members of both associations are committed to preserving and enhancing this great fishery for current and future generations. If you are interested in supporting this effort, look for Crib Program Raffle Tickets on your next visit or mail donations to: CFAPOE Adopt-a-Crib P.O. Box 555 Hayward, WI 54843-0555

Posted: 2002