Cooper Reservoir - 2011 Survey Report
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Prepared by Kevin W. Storey
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-B, Tyler, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 23-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Cooper Reservoir were surveyed using electrofishing in 2011 and gill netting in 2012. Littoral-zone habitat surveys and aquatic vegetation surveys were not conducted in summer 2011. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir.
Cooper Reservoir is located in Delta and Hopkins Counties, Texas, on the Middle and South Forks of the Sulphur River. It was constructed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers for water supply and flood control. Reservoir elevation during the past four years has fluctuated. From May 2010 through December 2011, levels continuously declined to 12.9 feet below conservation pool elevation, at which time all boat ramps were inaccessible.
Important sport fishes at Cooper Reservoir include palmetto bass, white bass, blue catfish, channel catfish, and largemouth bass. Annual requests are made to stock palmetto bass at a rate of 10/acre.
- Prey species: Cooper Reservoir contained abundant populations of gizzard shad and threadfin shad to provide prey for sport fish. Catches of sunfish species were low as a result of limited aquatic habitat at the time of the survey.
- Catfishes: Cooper Reservoir continued to sustain quality fisheries of blue and channel catfish. Sub-stock sized fish of both species were collected, indicating successful reproduction. Harvestable-size blue catfish occurred in high numbers and exhibited good body condition.
- Temperate basses: Ample open water habitat and a sufficient prey base allow Cooper Reservoir to support populations of white bass and palmetto bass. Cooper Reservoir has received annual stockings of palmetto bass since 2002 with the exception of 2010 and 2012.
- Black bass: Largemouth bass abundance has historically been limited, indicating low population density. Low reservoir water elevations during fall 2011 made electrofishing sampling difficult.
- Crappie: White and black crappie were present in the reservoir. Trap net sampling could not be conducted in 2011 because low reservoir water elevations prohibited boat access to the reservoir.
- Annual stockings of palmetto bass should continue at a rate of 10/acre to maintain the fishery.
- General monitoring with trap netting, gill netting and electrofishing surveys will be repeated in 2015-2016.
- An additional spring electrofishing survey is planned for 2013 to attempt to collect age and genetics samples.
- Conduct aquatic vegetation, littoral habitat, and access surveys in 2015.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-2 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program