Buffalo Springs Reservoir - 2004 Survey Report
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Prepared by 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.
Buffalo Springs Reservoir was surveyed in the fall of 2004 using trap nets and electrofishing and in the spring of 2005 using gill nets. 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 levels are stable and nutrient levels are extremely high. A large portion of the fish habitat was cattail. Bank and boat access was good and handicap specific facilities were fair. The reservoir experienced a significant Prymnesium parvum (golden algae) kill during 2003 which had a major impact on the fisheries. The reservoir experienced another kill in 2005, but it was very minor and limited to a single small cove.
- Prey species: Electrofishing catch rate for gizzard shad in 2004 was 251/h, which was similar to 2002 at 311/h and 2000 at 253/h. The gizzard shad population had an index of vulnerability (IOV) of 88, indicating that 88% of the gizzard shad population was less than 8 inches in length and available to most predators. The electrofishing catch rate for bluegill in 2004 was 280/h. Since the P. parvum bloom, the PSD has been <1 with no fish over 6 inches detected in the population. The reservoir was stocked with bluegill to supplement reproduction and speed forage base recovery.
- Catfishes: Blue catfish were stocked in 2003 following the P. parvum fish kill. In 2005, they were collected in gill nets at a rate of 2.6/NN. Most fish collected were legal size (12 inches) or larger. The gill net catch rate for channel catfish was 0.6/NN in 2005. This is much lower than previous samples and is likely due to a 2003 P. parvum fish kill. Prior to the kill catch rates were 10.0/NN in 2001 and 2.6/NN in 1998. The population size structure, as indexed by proportional stock density (PSD), in 2005 was 100.
- White bass: There were no white bass caught in gill nets in 2005. Prior to 2005 catch rates for white bass were 3.6/NN in 2001 and 6.4/NN in 1998. White bass size structure decreased from a PSD of 100 in 1998 to 89 in 2001. White bass were in good condition as mean Wr ranged from 95 and 111.
- Striped bass: The gill net catch rate for striped bass was 8.2/NN in 2005 and was similar to the 6 year average of 12.3/NN. Based on previous growth, the fish that were collected were likely from the 2003 and 2004 stockings.
- Redbreast sunfish: Since the P. parvum fish kill, we have not collected redbreast sunfish. Previous management plans called for publicizing this fish to anglers to increase use. The electrofishing catch rate for redbreast sunfish in 2002 was 293/h and was mainly fish 6 inches and longer. Future plans are to obtain adults from another source and reintroduce them to the reservoir.
- Largemouth bass: The 2004 electrofishing catch rate for largemouth bass (31/h) was lower than rates in 2000 (150/h) and 2002 (145/h), primarily due to the P. parvum fish kill in 2003. In 2004, the largemouth bass PSD was 38 and RSD-14 was 25. All sizes of fish are in good condition. Since the fish kill, approximately 75,000 Florida largemouth bass have been stocked.
- White crappie: The trap net catch rate for white crappie was 0.6/NN in 2004 with only 4 fish collected in 7 nets.
Based on current information, the reservoir should continue to be managed with existing regulations. Redbreast sunfish adults should be obtained from another source and stocked in an attempt to re-establish this quality population. Continue stocking striped bass to help control the gizzard shad population. Striped bass should be stocked on an alternating basis where they are stocked at a rate of 15/acre and 40/acre in two consecutive years and then have two years of no stockings. The reservoir should be monitored for P. parvum and associated fish kills. Mitigation of kills should be conducted as soon as practical.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-29 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program