Caddo Lake - 2009 Survey Report
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Prepared by Timothy J. Bister and Michael W. Brice
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-A, Marshall, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 32-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Caddo Lake (Texas side only) were surveyed in 2009 using electrofishing and trap netting and in 2010 using gill netting. An angler creel survey was conducted from June 2009 through May 2010. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Caddo Lake is a 27,472-acre lake (12,712 acres in Texas) on Big Cypress Creek located in the Cypress Creek Basin approximately 20 miles northeast of Marshall, Texas in Harrison and Marion Counties, and Caddo Parish, Louisiana. Habitat features consisted of Bald Cypress wetlands and a complex aquatic plant community, including the invasive species giant salvinia, water hyacinth and hydrilla. Flooding during fall 2009 delayed electrofishing and trap netting surveys. The lake level was still approximately 3 feet above full pool at the time of fall sampling, which likely resulted in poor success for fish sampling.
Important sport fish include largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and crappie. The management plan from the 2005 survey report included the need for nuisance aquatic vegetation monitoring, unified fish harvest regulations between Texas and Louisiana, largemouth bass supplemental stocking, and the need to keep stakeholders informed of fisheries issues related to Caddo Lake. Largemouth bass were managed with a 14- to 18-inch slot-length limit on the Texas side of the lake. Efforts to control nuisance aquatic plants on the lake continue.
- Prey species: Threadfin shad continued to be present in the reservoir. Electrofishing catch of gizzard shad and bluegill was lower in 2009 than previous surveys. Most gizzard shad were too large to be available as prey to sport fish.
- Catfishes: The channel catfish population has many fish above legal size and provides good angling opportunities. Gill net catch rates of channel catfish were higher in 2010 than the previous survey.
- Temperate basses: White bass were still present in gill netting surveys, but only two fish were caught. The lack of preferred open-water habitat likely limits their abundance.
- Black basses: Largemouth bass 2009 electrofishing catch rates were lower than previous years, which was likely due to sampling conditions. The size distribution of the population was stable, and fish exhibited excellent body condition. Most angler hours spent fishing at Caddo Lake was directed toward largemouth bass during a 2009-2010 creel survey. Spotted bass were present in low density.
- Crappie: Both black and white crappie were collected during fall trap netting. However, catch rates were lower than previous years. Crappie were the second most sought fish by anglers and all legal fish (>10 inches) caught by anglers interviewed during a year-long creel survey were harvested.
- Conduct electrofishing survey in fall 2011, aquatic vegetation surveys annually from 2010-2013, and general monitoring with trap netting and electrofishing surveys in 2013 and gill netting in 2014.
- Stock Florida largemouth bass annually to maintain the trophy fishery.
- Continue to assist stakeholders with nuisance aquatic vegetation management strategies.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-35 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program