Lake Corpus Christi - 2006 Survey Report
Prepared by Todd Neahr and John Findeisen
Inland Fisheries Division
District 1-E, Mathis, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 25-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Lake Corpus Christi were surveyed in 2006 using trap nets and electrofishing, and in 2007 using gill nets. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake Corpus Christi is located on the Nueces River approximately 20 miles northwest of Corpus Christi, Texas. The reservoir was built by the Lower Nueces Water Supply District in 1958 to provide water for Corpus Christi and other coastal bend communities. Boat access is correlated with water level. Shoreline and handicap access are limited to a few public areas around the lake. Water is typically turbid, but clears during the summer in the lower reservoir and small creek arms. The substrate is composed primarily of silt, sand, clay, and some gravel/rock. Littoral habitat consists of native aquatic vegetation, periodically flooded live and dead terrestrial vegetation, standing timber, and seasonally abundant water hyacinth.
Important sport fish include blue catfish, white bass, largemouth bass, and white crappie. The management focus has been on controlling nuisance aquatic vegetation and creating additional habitat. The district worked with the City of Corpus Christi to develop and implement a water hyacinth control program. District staff created additional habitat in the form of five brush piles. In an effort to increase angling effort, maps with GPS coordinates of all brush piles were distributed at local marinas, bait stands, and Lake Corpus Christi State Park.
- Prey species: Gizzard shad and bluegill continued to be the predominant prey in the reservoir. Availability of gizzard shad as prey for sport fish increased from 2002 to 2006. The majority of bluegill were greater than 4 inches.
- Catfishes: Blue and channel catfish were present in the reservoir with blue catfish being more abundant. The majority of channel catfish sampled were less than the 12 inch minimum length limit, whereas most of the blue catfish were greater than legal size (12 inches).
- Temperate basses: White bass were present in the reservoir, and population abundance has been relatively stable. Striped bass and palmetto bass have previously been stocked but have not been captured in sampling gears. White bass attained legal size (10 inches) between ages 1 and 2.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass had marginal body condition. Few fish were above legal size limit. The population size structure was poor. The majority of fish were collected from the lower half of the reservoir during the 2006 electrofishing survey.
- Crappie: Trap net catch rates and overall body condition of white crappie remain consistent during the survey period. The black crappie population contained few legally harvestable size fish. Overall body condition rose slightly, and trap net catch rates remained consistent during the survey period.
- Continue to work with the City of Corpus Christi on the water hyacinth control program.
- Monitor for return of native vegetation.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-32 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program