Lake Fork - 2009 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 34-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 2009 and 2010 using electrofishing. Anglers were surveyed with an access point creel survey, and a vegetation survey was conducted to assess water hyacinth distribution and coverage. 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 an average of 0.2 feet of conservation pool elevation. Water hyacinth distribution and coverage increased as a result of two successive mild winters in 2007 to 2008 and 2008 to 2009 and favorable environmental factors such as high rainfall, windy conditions and early onset of summertime temperatures that encouraged its growth and spread.
Important sport fishes include largemouth bass, crappie (white and black), and channel catfish. The management plan from the 2009 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. Water hyacinth 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: Abundant shad (threadfin and gizzard) and sunfish populations provided adequate prey for largemouth bass and crappie. Good body conditions of largemouth bass provide conclusive evidence that prey fish are not limiting. The majority of shad species were available as prey for adult largemouth bass. The majority of bluegill collected in 2009 measured less than five inches in length, a suitable prey size for most size classes of largemouth bass.
- Catfishes: Catfish accounted for 5% 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 1.73/h and harvest rate was 1.18/h.
- Temperate basses: White bass, yellow bass, white x yellow bass hybrids, and palmetto bass were all present in the reservoir. Harvest of yellow bass and white bass was observed during creel surveys.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass are the most popular game fish in Lake Fork, accounting for over 73% of total angler effort in 2009 to 2010. Number and range of size groups remained consistent and body conditions were high. Largemouth bass continued to grow rapidly.
- Crappie: Crappie accounted for almost 21% of total directed effort in 2009 to 2010. During the winter quarter (December 2009 through February 2010), 55% of the annual harvest of crappie was observed, but angler effort was highest in spring.
Annual actions include: stocking FLMB, spring and fall electrofishing for largemouth bass population assessment, an access point creel survey to monitor angler effort, and angler catch and harvest rates, annual vegetation surveys of water hyacinth and distribution, and promotion of the Lake Fork Trophy Bass Survey. In addition, the water hyacinth management plan will be used to guide treatment activities.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-35 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program