Lake Conroe - 2009 Survey Report
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Prepared by Jeffrey C. Henson and Mark A. Webb
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-E, Snook, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 38-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
The Lake Conroe fish community was surveyed from June 2009 through May 2010 using electrofishing, gill netting, and trap nettting. A habitat and vegetation survey was conducted in September 2009. Angler use and harvest information was collected using a roving creel survey which was conducted from June 2008 through May 2009. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake Conroe is a 20,118-acre reservoir on the West Fork of the San Jacinto River, Texas, built to provide water for municipal and industrial purposes. The reservoir was constructed in 1973 by the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA), the Water Development Board, and the City of Houston. The Sam Houston National Forest borders most of the upper third of Lake Conroe, and considerable private and commercial real estate development surround the lower two-thirds of the reservoir.
Important sport fishes in Lake Conroe include largemouth bass, white bass, palmetto bass, blue catfish, channel catfish, white crappie, and black crappie. Recent management includes control of hydrilla using triploid grass carp beginning in 2006. Hydrilla was brought under control by spring 2008, but native aquatic vegetation was reduced from over 1,000 acres in 2006 to about 150 acres in 2008. The plant communities (including the exotic species hydrilla, giant salvinia, and water hyacinth) have been monitored at least biannually. A native aquatic vegetation nursery has been established below the Lake Conroe Dam in cooperation with the Seven Coves Bass Club and SJRA. Plants from the nursery have been planted in the reservoir.
- Prey species: The predominant prey fish species at Lake Conroe is threadfin shad. Gizzard shad and various species of sunfishes, minnows, and silversides make up the remainder of the prey base.
- Catfishes: Catfishes are the second most sought after group of fishes by anglers accounting for 21.9% of total directed effort. Channel catfish are the most abundant catfish species in Lake Conroe. Blue catfish also provide a substantial fishery.
- Temperate basses: White bass and palmetto bass are present in Lake Conroe with palmetto bass supported by stockings when adequate fish are produced by TPWD hatcheries.
- Largemouth bass: The largemouth bass is the most sought after species in Lake Conroe, and the population provides high quality angling opportunities. The current lake record largemouth bass, caught in January 2009, weighed 15.93 pounds and measured 27 inches in length. The new record largemouth bass was one of four fish entered into the Toyota ShareLunker Program in the 2008-2009 season.
- Black and white crappie: Both black crappie and white crappie provide angling opportunities at Lake Conroe. Angler catches of crappie are good in the spring and fall.
The fisheries at Lake Conroe will continue to be managed with current length and bag limits. We will continue to work with SJRA, the Lake Conroe Association (LCA), the Seven Coves Bass Club, and other interested groups to address the ongoing problem of exotic vegetation control and native vegetation restoration at Lake Conroe. Palmetto bass and Florida largemouth bass stockings will be requested annually if stocking criteria are met. Largemouth bass will be sampled annually by electrofishing, and the temperate basses and catfish populations will be sampled biennially with gill nets. All other fish populations will be sampled every four years.
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