Buffalo Springs Reservoir - 2012 Survey Report
Prepared by John Clayton and Charles Munger
Inland Fisheries Division
District 1-A, Canyon, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 20-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Buffalo Springs Reservoir were surveyed in 2012 using electrofishing and trap nets and in 2013 using gill nets. Historical data are presented with the 2012-2013 data for comparison. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Buffalo Springs is a 225-acre reservoir that was impounded in 1960 on Yellowhouse Draw, a tributary of the North Fork of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River, located 5 miles southeast of Lubbock, Texas. It is owned by the Lubbock County Water Control and Improvement District Number 1 and used for recreational purposes. Water level has been stable and nutrient levels in the reservoir are extremely high. A large portion of fish habitat was cattail. Bank and boat access was good and handicap specific facilities were good. The reservoir has experienced Prymnesium parvum (golden alga) kills beginning in 2003 which have had a major impact on the fish populations.
The sport fish populations have been managed with statewide regulations. Intensive Striped Bass stocking was used to manage an overabundant Gizzard Shad population with good success.
- Prey species: There was a very high number of Gizzard Shad sampled during electrofishing in 2012, and 94% of the shad are small enough to be utilized as prey. Bluegill numbers have declined, and the population was dominated by fish 5 inches or smaller.
- Catfishes: Blue Catfish were stocked in 2003, 2007, and 2009 to reestablish the species following P. parvum fish kills. One Blue Catfish was collected in 2011 and two were collected in 2013; these are the first Blue Catfish collected in gill nets since 2005. No Channel Catfish were collected in gill nets in 2009; however, gill net surveys from 2011 and 2013 show a recovering Channel Catfish population.
- Temperate bass: Historically, White Bass have been present in the reservoir; however, only one White Bass has been sampled in gill nets since 2001. The gill net catch rate for Striped Bass was 0.4/nn in 2013.
- Largemouth bass: The electrofishing catch rate for Largemouth Bass has increased from 10.0/h in 2008 to 32.0/h in 2012. Size structure was dominated by smaller individuals, but has improved somewhat.
- White crappie: The trap net catch rate for White Crappie was 0.2/nn in 2012. Only one fish was collected in trap net surveys.
Based on current information, the reservoir should continue to be managed with existing regulations. Continue stocking Striped Bass to help maintain control of the Gizzard Shad population. Striped Bass should be stocked on an alternating basis at a rate of 15/acre and 40/acre in two consecutive years and then two years of no stocking based on protocols used during research conducted by Schramm et al. (2000). The reservoir should be monitored for P. parvum and associated fish kills. Mitigation of kills by stocking should be conducted as soon as practical.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act, Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-3 Inland Fisheries Division Monitoring and Management Program