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Claytor Lake collecting Christmas trees for fish habitat

Once collected, the trees will be dropped in the water to give fish a new home

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – From a holiday tradition to a habitat for fish, Claytor Lake State Park is deep into its annual Christmas tree drop, where locals recycle their trees to give underwater creatures a new home. 

"It creates a reef habitat and it's a resting point for game fish and non-game fish," said Ryan Stubblebine, chief ranger for Claytor Lake.

So far, about 50 Christmas trees have been dropped off at Claytor Lake. Park staff say by the end of this program, they expect to have around 100 to drop in the lake.

"We'll drill holes in the trunks and tie ropes to them and secure them to cinder blocks and we'll load those onto boats and stick them in designated areas on the lake," said Stubblebine.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries decides where the trees are dropped. While the trees provide a place for fish, they also help reel in fishing enthusiasts looking for a big catch.

"The structures we drop in the lake are identified in a map that we have for the public and for the avid bass anglers and the public that likes to come out here and fish; they'll fish those areas to try to catch some," said Stubblebine.

If you want to help bring Christmas to Claytor Lake, you can drop off your tree at the marina any day the park is open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m.

The trees will hit the water January 10 and 19.