LAKE WACCAMAW, N.C. (March 2, 2012) — Build it and they will come. At least that’s the hope of fisheries biologists with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission after placing an experimental reef in Lake Waccamaw last summer to attract a tiny, gray catfish.
Biologists placed the reef, or “madtom hotel” as they call it, into Lake Waccamaw to help assess the population status of the broadtail madtom, a small species in the catfish family. Twenty years ago, this native fish, which measures a mere 2 ½ inches, was more common in the Columbus County lake. Today, it is difficult to find. So difficult, in fact, that the fish is state listed as a species of special concern. Broadtail madtoms are only known from a handful of locations in the Coastal Plain of North and South Carolina.
Ryan Heise, an aquatic wildlife diversity biologist with the Commission, and Chris Helms with North Carolina State Parks, hope th