Aquilla Reservoir - 2006 Survey Report
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Prepared by John Tibbs and Michael S. Baird
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-B, Waco, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 34-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Aquilla Reservoir were surveyed in 2006 using electrofishing and trap nets and in 2007 using gill nets. Anglers were surveyed from September to December 2006 and March to May 2007 with a creel. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Aquilla Reservoir is a 2,366-acre impoundment located in Hill County, approximately 10 miles east of Whitney, Texas. The reservoir was created in 1982 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers for municipal water supply and flood control. Water levels began to drop in late spring 2005, and continued dropping until early spring 2007 when the lake refilled. Aquilla Reservoir is moderately productive, with turbidity ranging from 2 to 4 feet. Fish habitat at time of sampling consisted primarily of standing timber and stumps, as well as featureless bank. Vegetation was non-existent because of low water levels.
Important sport fish include white bass, largemouth bass, white crappie, and catfish. The management plan from the 2002 survey report included monitoring hydrilla, promoting the blue catfish fishery, and conducting a year-long creel to determine angler attitudes about the 18” minimum length limit for largemouth bass and measure utilization of the crappie and catfish populations. The planned year-long creel survey was shortened to creels during fall 2006 and spring 2007 because these periods of relatively high use gave us all the information needed to manage the reservoir.
- Prey species: Threadfin shad continue their strong presence in the reservoir. Electrofishing catch of gizzard shad was very high, with most available as forage. Electrofishing catch of bluegills was satisfactory, with most also available as forage.
- Catfishes: The channel catfish and blue catfish gill net catch rates were satisfactory, with plenty of fish available to anglers. Although flathead catfish are present in the reservoir, none were collected.
- White bass: White bass were collected at a high rate in spring 2007 gill net samples, and all of them exceeded the minimum legal length. This was the best sample seen in the last decade.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass were collected at a rate similar to previous years. Population size structure was good.
- White crappie: Abundance, size, and body condition of white crappie continued to be good, although total catch rate declined the past three samples. However the proportion of legal-sized fish increased.
- Conduct general monitoring with trap nets, gill nets, and electrofishing surveys in 2010-2011.
- Survey exotic aquatic vegetation annually during the next 4 years.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-32 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program