Lake Fork - 2007 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 2007 using electrofishing and trap netting, and in 2008 using electrofishing and gill netting. Anglers were surveyed with an access point creel survey, and vegetation was assessed through an aquatic vegetation 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 five miles northwest of Quitman, Texas. Water levels have been stable for the past 12 months, remaining within one foot of conservation pool elevation. Total coverage of hydrilla in summer 2007 (1.5% of reservoir surface area) was reduced as compared with 2006 (3.8%) and 2005 (4.8%). Eurasian watermilfoil appears to have displaced hydrilla in some areas and occupied the same total area (418 acres) as hydrilla in summer 2007.
Important sport fishes include largemouth bass, crappie (white and black), and channel catfish. The management plan from the 2007 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 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 continue annual spraying to control its spread.
- Prey species: Abundant clupeid (threadfin and gizzard shad) and sunfish populations provided adequate prey for largemouth bass and crappie. The majority of gizzard shad were available as prey for adult largemouth bass. Most bluegill and redear sunfish collected in 2007 were less than four inches in length, a suitable prey size for most size classes of bass.
- Catfishes: The quality of the catfish fishery was good and accounted for 3.9% of total angler effort. Channel catfish was the predominant catfish species although flathead catfish, blue catfish and yellow bullheads were also present.
- Temperate basses: White bass, yellow bass and white x yellow bass hybrids were all present in the reservoir. There was a limited fishery for yellow bass and anglers reported increasingly frequent catches of white bass. Four white bass were observed during the creel survey. This species has also been collected in low abundances in gill net sampling.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass were the most popular game fish in Lake Fork, accounting for over 84% of total angler effort in 2007–2008. Size distribution of the population remained consistent and relative weights were high. Largemouth bass grew into the protected 16- to 24-inch slot-length limit between three and four years of age.
- Crappie: Crappie accounted for 11.2% of total directed effort in 2007–2008. The vast majority of crappie observed in creel surveys were black crappie (83%). During the winter quarter (December 2007 through February 2008), 48% of the annual harvest of crappie was observed.
- Stock FLMB to enhance largemouth bass genetics.
- Continue to evaluate 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 2008 and spring 2009 and continue annual access point creel survey at standard effort of 36 days/year.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-33 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program