Fort Parker Reservoir - 2010 Survey Report
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Prepared by John Tibbs and Michael S. Baird
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-B, Waco, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 21-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Fort Parker Reservoir were surveyed in 2010 using an electrofisher and trap nets and in 2011 using gill nets. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Fort Parker Reservoir is a 725-acre impoundment located within Fort Parker State Park in Limestone County, Texas. Mean and maximum water depths are 4 and 8 feet respectively, and the reservoir is moderately productive due to Navasota River inflows. Fish habitat at time of sampling consisted almost exclusively of natural shoreline, including rocky substrate, native emergent plants, and overhanging brush. Boat access to the reservoir is adequate, yet bank fishing remains limited due to large stands of cutgrass and other vegetation.
Important sport fish include white bass, largemouth bass, white crappie, and catfish. Management strategies from the 2006 survey report included: working with park staff to develop an angler creel, evaluating the catfish population, stocking blue catfish, conducting a vegetation and habitat survey, and developing a plan to clear cutgrass and other limiting shoreline vegetation from fishable areas. The proposed creel was dropped due to low angler usage of the park. Blue catfish were stocked in 2008 and 2009 at 50/acre. Low frequency electrofishing was performed in 2009 and determined that the blue catfish population was healthy and recruiting well; further stocking requests for blue catfish were subsequently cancelled. Numerous conversations were conducted with park staff regarding the removal of cutgrass and other types of shoreline vegetation, yet to date, no vegetation clearing has been performed.
- Prey species: Threadfin shad were collected at rates nearly twice the historical average; gizzard shad were collected at rates well short of historical averages. Other forage species included bluegill, longear sunfish, warmouth, and green sunfish.
- Catfishes: The blue catfish population continues to grow and catch rates were at an all time high. Channel catfish were also collected at near historic high catch rates. Body conditions were good to excellent for both species.
- White bass: Although white bass were not collected during this survey, they are still present in the reservoir. White bass have remained popular among anglers in the Navasota River both above and below Fort Parker State Park.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass catch rates were at an all time high, and the population was balanced with good numbers of harvestable fish with excellent body condition.
- White crappie: White crappie catch rates were at an all time high, and many fish were well above the legal size limit of 10 inches.
Continue managing Fort Parker Reservoir with existing regulations. Conduct general monitoring with electrofisher and trap nets in 2014 and gill nets in 2015.
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