Lake Corpus Christi - 2010 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 28-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations were surveyed using electrofishing and trap nets (2006, 2008 and 2010) and gill nets (2009, 2010 and 2011). This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake Corpus Christi is an 18,256 acre impoundment 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 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 and alligatorweed.
Important sport fishes include blue catfish, white bass, largemouth bass and white and black crappie. Recent management efforts have focused on control of nuisance aquatic vegetation, creating additional habitat, and supplementing the naturally occurring largemouth bass population through recent stockings in 2008 and 2009. The district has worked with the City of Corpus Christi to develop and implement a water hyacinth control program. Angler harvest of all sport fishes has been regulated according to statewide size and bag limits.
- Prey species: Gizzard and threadfin shad were the predominant prey in the reservoir. Most gizzard shad collected were of size available to predators. Bluegill relative abundance remained high and the majority collected was available as forage to the predator assemblage.
- Catfishes: Although channel catfish were present, the catfish community is dominated by blue catfish. Several quality-sized blue catfish were collected.
- White bass: White bass relative abundance increased substantially since previous surveys in 2006 and 2008.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass abundance has steadily increased since 2006. However, few fish above legal size limit were collected during the 2010 electrofishing survey. Overall body condition was good with relative weights exceeding 90. Largemouth bass attained legal size (14 inches) at 2.7 years.
- Crappie: Trap net catch rates of white and black crappie increased substantially over the survey period, however, the majority of fish collected were sub-legal. White crappie body condition was excellent.
- Continue to assist the City of Corpus Christi on the water hyacinth control program.
- Monitor for expansion of native aquatic vegetation.
- Request Florida largemouth bass stocking to enhance production of large fish (≥ 8 pounds) in the population.
- Conduct creel to collect fisheries dependent data (i.e., angler effort, catch, and harvest).
- Evaluate use of baited hoop nets for collection of channel catfish.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-1 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program