Coleto Creek Reservoir - 2009 Survey Report
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Prepared by Greg Binion and John Findeisen
Inland Fisheries Division
District 1-E, Mathis, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 31-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Coleto Creek Reservoir were surveyed from 2006 to 2010 using trap nets, electrofishing, and gill nets. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Coleto Creek Reservoir is a 3,100-acre reservoir located on Coleto Creek in the Guadalupe River Basin 13 miles southwest of Victoria. Regulated by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, it receives water from Coleto and Perdido creeks as well as several smaller tributaries and is used as a power plant cooling and recreation. Approximately 600 acres are used for cooling ponds and are inaccessible to anglers. Water level is typically stable. Substrate is composed primarily of clays, deep loams and small rock. Littoral habitat consisted of many native and exotic species of aquatic vegetation and flooded timber.
Important sport fish species include blue, channel, and flathead catfish, white bass, largemouth bass, and white and black crappie. Palmetto bass and red drum were previously stocked in the reservoir but these stockings have been discontinued due to low gill net catch rates and low directed angling effort. The 2006 management plan focused on nuisance aquatic vegetation control and the continuation of roving creel surveys every other year to estimate angling effort, catch, and harvest. Hydrilla, milfoil and water hyacinth have historically restricted access to some areas of the reservoir and these problematic areas have been treated with herbicides and bio-control organisms. In addition to standard electrofishing surveys conducted every year; additional largemouth bass sampling was conducted in 2009 to assess age and growth and to obtain total annual mortality estimates for the population.
- Prey species: Abundant sunfish (bluegill and redear) populations provided adequate prey for existing predator fish populations. Gizzard and threadfin shad catches declined and roughly half of the gizzard shad collected were suitable prey size for most size classes of bass.
- Catfishes: The catfish community was dominated by channel catfish. Blue catfish were also present in the reservoir in low abundance. Several quality-size catfish were collected.
- Temperate basses: White bass were present in low abundance and catches dropped substantially compared to the 2006 survey. Palmetto bass are assumed no longer present in the reservoir, as evidenced by zero catches in both 2006 and 2010 gill net surveys.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass continued to be abundant in the reservoir. Size distribution of the population remained consistent and body condition was adequate for all size classes. Most largemouth bass grew to 14-inches in three years.
- Crappie: Black and white crappie were present in the reservoir with white crappie being most abundant. White crappie abundance has decreased substantially; however, all fish collected were legal size.
- Initiate creel survey in 2011/12 to collect angling effort and catch and harvest data and to monitor apparent declines in important sport fisheries (i.e., crappies, white bass, and channel catfish).
- Conduct springtime electrofishing surveys to assess low catch and lack of quality-sized largemouth bass represented in samples.
- Network with local bass clubs to set up a largemouth bass tournament reporting system to supplement standard largemouth bass data collection.
- Continue to work with GBRA on monitoring and controlling milfoil and hydrilla in problematic areas.
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