Lowe’s Donates 265 Christmas Trees To WRD Fisheries

Brad Gill | February 11, 2020

Russell Barber, a Lowe’s department supervisor in Waycross, had a dilemma on his hands after Christmas. He looked around and counted 265 leftover Christmas trees that had to be hauled off somewhere. He a thought to put those trees to good use, and his move was to call WRD Fisheries in Waycross—a decision that would impact thousands of anglers.

“When I called Fisheries, they were immediately interested and came and got them the next day. They brought two trucks and two trailers,” said Russell.

The Christmas trees will find their homes in several of the lakes at Paradise PFA in Berrien County.

“The area supports between 30,000 and 50,000 fishing trips per year and produces great fishing for largemouth bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, shellcrackers and recently a good hybrid-striped bass fishery in two of our lakes where they were stocked,” said Bert Deer, WRD Fisheries region supervisor.

The trees will start being deployed the week of Feb. 10-14, 2020.

“I plan to put some of the trees out this week, and when we do, they will be marked with PVC and/or GPS, or they will be added to structures that have been marked in the past,” said Dean Barber, WRD Fisheries Tech 4 and area manager at Paradise PFA.

“The majority of the trees will be put into Lakes Patrick (114 acres), Paradise (46 acres) and Tacklebuster (17 acres).”

These trees will act as great fish attractors for many months to come.

“They attract fish by providing a place for small invertebrates and algae to take hold and grow,” said Dean. “This added food source then attracts smaller fish that feed on and take shelter in the trees and then the larger fish are attracted to the smaller fish. All of this together provides fishermen with a place to fish that should have a higher concentration of fish.”

All marked fish attractors are posted on DNR’s websites. To access the Paradise PFA page and the interactive map, go to

Russell, from Lowe’s, said he plans to make a trip to Paradise PFA soon to see if fish are using the new underwater Christmas trees for cover.

“I do enjoy fishing,” said Russell. “I’ve never had the opportunity to fish Paradise but have heard about it for years. I’m definitely going to try it out this year. Most of the time I fish the St. Mary’s River, since I live within a mile of the Traders Hill boat ramp. I also fish the Satilla, Okefenokee Swamp and Bank’s Lake.

“I mostly enjoy panfishing, but with the right company, I love to try and catch a monster bass every now and then. Nothing beats camping on a sandbar for the weekend and catfishing all night.”

Russell is used to doing what he can to help out other anglers.

“I have seen the effect one person can have on thousands of people, as I have been a volunteer at Okefenokee NWR for almost 20 years,” said Russell. “There is no better feeling than knowing that you played a part in making another person’s experience a better one and improved things for others in the years to come.”

Fishermen need to thank Russell Barber (middle) with Lowe’s for calling WRD Fisheries to come pick up leftover Christmas trees. The trees were collected by WRD Fisheries Technicians Kellen Bridges (left) and Jesse Boles (right) and taken to Paradise PFA.

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