Lake Fork - 2008 Survey Report
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Prepared by Kevin W. Storey and Aaron K. Jubar
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-B, Tyler, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 26-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Largemouth bass in Lake Fork Reservoir were surveyed in 2008 and 2009 using electrofishing. Anglers were surveyed with an access point creel survey, and a vegetation survey was conducted to assess waterhyacinth distribution. 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%) (Storey and Jubar 2008). 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 2008 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 continued 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 herbicide treatments to attempt to control its spread.
- Prey species: Although no assessments were made of prey fish populations in fall 2008 or spring 2009, it is evident there are adequate sources of food for largemouth bass and other predators based on the high relative weights of largemouth bass. The majority of gizzard shad in past surveys were available as prey for adult largemouth bass and most bluegill and redear sunfish collected were less than four inches in length, representing suitable sizes for most size classes of bass (Storey and Jubar 2008).
- Catfishes: Catfish accounted for 3% of total angler effort. Channel catfish were the predominant catfish species although flathead catfish, blue catfish, and yellow bullheads were also present. Total catch per hour in the creel survey was 1.86/h and harvest rate was 0.98/h.
- Temperate basses: White bass, yellow bass, and white x yellow bass hybrids were all present in the reservoir. There is a limited fishery for yellow bass and anglers continued to report catching white bass. Two white bass were observed during the creel survey.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass are the most popular game fish in Lake Fork, accounting for over 87% of total angler effort in 2008–2009. Size distribution remained consistent and relative weights were high. Largemouth bass continued to grow rapidly.
- Crappie: Crappie accounted for 8.8% of total directed effort in 2008–2009. The vast majority of crappie observed in creel surveys were black crappie (82%). During the winter quarter (December 2008 through February 2009), 59% of the annual harvest of crappie was observed, although angler effort was third compared with other quarters.
Annual actions include: stocking FLMB to enhance largemouth bass genetics, spring and fall electrofishing for largemouth bass, an access point creel survey, annual vegetation surveys of waterhyacinth and promotion of the Lake Fork Trophy Bass Survey.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-34 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program