Lake Fork - 2006 Survey Report
Prepared by Kevin W. Storey and Aaron K. Jubar
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-B, Tyler, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 36-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Lake Fork Reservoir were surveyed in 2006 using electrofishing and trap netting and in 2007 using electrofishing. Anglers were surveyed from June 2006 to May 2007 with an access point creel survey. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake Fork Reservoir is a 27,264-acre impoundment located on Lake Fork Creek, a tributary of the Sabine River, approximately 5 miles northwest of Quitman, Texas. Water levels reached an historic low level of 5.3 feet below conservation pool elevation during December 2006 as a result of a prolonged drought. Total coverage of hydrilla in summer 2006 accounted for 3.8% of the lake surface area, down from 4.8% in 2005.
Important sport fishes include largemouth bass, crappie (white and black), and channel catfish. The management plan from the 2005 survey report included continued stocking of Florida largemouth bass (FLMB). The 16- to 24-inch slot-length limit continues to be evaluated through annual electrofishing surveys, and an annual access creel survey. District staff continue to promote the Lake Fork Trophy Bass Survey. Waterhyacinth abundance and distribution is monitored through annual vegetation surveys and recommendations are made to the Aquatic Habitat Enhancement staff to continue annual spraying to control its spread.
- Prey species: Abundant clupeid (threadfin and gizzard shad) and sunfish populations provide plentiful prey for largemouth bass and crappie. Gizzard shad size structure is optimal with the majority of individuals available as prey for adult largemouth bass. The majority of bluegill and redear sunfish collected in 2006 were less than 4 inches in length, making them available prey for most size classes of bass.
- Catfishes: The quality of the catfish fishery continues to be good and accounts for 5.9% of total angler effort. Channel catfish is the predominant species although flathead catfish, blue catfish and yellow bullheads were also present.
- Temperate basses: White bass, yellow bass and white x yellow bass hybrids are all present in the reservoir. There is a limited fishery for yellow bass. Anglers report increasingly frequent catches of white bass. This species has been collected in gill net sampling in spring 2004 and fall 2005, although abundances are low.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass are the dominant game fish in Lake Fork and in 2006 – 2007 the fishery received over 80% of total angler effort. Size distribution of the population remains consistent with previous years and relative weights continue to be high. Between three and four years of age, largemouth bass grow into the protected 16- to 24-inch slot-length limit.
- Crappie: Crappie were the second most sought game fish accounting for 12.6% of total directed effort. Black crappie accounted for 82.6% of crappie observed in creel surveys. The winter quarter (December 2006-February 2007) was responsible for 63% of the entire year’s harvest of crappie.
- Stock FLMB to enhance largemouth bass genetics.
- Continue to monitor the 16 to 24 inch slot length limit.
- Conduct annual vegetation surveys of waterhyacinth and recommend chemical control as needed.
- Continue to promote the Lake Fork Trophy Bass Survey.
- Conduct electrofishing surveys in fall 2007 and spring 2008 and continue annual access point creel survey.
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