Halbert Reservoir - 2010 Survey Report
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Prepared by Richard A. Ott, Jr. and Daniel L. Bennett
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-C, Tyler, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 23-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Lake Halbert were surveyed in 2010 using electrofishing and trap netting and in 2011 using gill netting. Vegetation and angler access surveys were conducted in August 2010. This report summarizes results of these surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake Halbert is a 531-acre reservoir on Elm Creek, a tributary of the Trinity River, constructed by the City of Corsicana in 1921 to provide water for municipal and industrial purposes. Boat access is adequate, and a fishing pier is available. In addition, shoreline access is available in the park along the west bank. High turbidity limits growth of submersed aquatic vegetation and likely has a negative impact on largemouth bass reproduction. A prolonged drought in 2005-2006 reduced reservoir capacity to approximately 28%, and the reservoir was closed to recreation. Littoral habitat continued to be sparse.
Important sport fish include channel catfish, white bass, largemouth bass, and white crappie. The management plan from the 2003 survey report included: constructing brush shelters, installation of a fish feeder on the fishing pier, and distribution of regulation posters to area businesses; no survey was conducted in 2006 due to low water level. The fish community continues to be managed under statewide harvest regulations.
- Prey species: Electrofishing catch of gizzard shad in 2010 was lower than in 2003 but most were small enough to be available as prey to sport fish. Threadfin shad were not collected in 2003 but were collected in 2010. Combined electrofishing catch rate of sunfishes was 95/h and although most were small enough to be consumed by predators they are unlikely to support a fishery.
- Catfishes: Blue catfish were not collected prior to 2003 but since have become the dominant catfish species; their size distribution was very good. Channel catfish continue to exhibit low abundance and few are of legal length.
- White bass: White bass continued to exhibit inconsistent recruitment and low abundance, likely due to limited spawning habitat. Body condition of white bass in most size classes was poor.
- Largemouth bass: Electrofishing catch rate of largemouth bass ≥8 inches was higher than historical surveys and size distribution was within the target range for a balanced fish community. Body condition was extremely variable by size group. Growth analysis indicated that few largemouth bass reach legal length before age 4. It is likely that high turbidity limits the ability of largemouth bass to feed effectively.
- Crappie: Trap net catch rate of white crappie was approximately 25% of the historical range. Size distribution was good but body condition declined with increasing length, suggesting limited prey availability.
- Standard surveys will be conducted in 2014-2015 to monitor sport fish and prey populations.
- Continue soliciting assistance in building and deploying structural habitat.
- Continue to monitor the expanding blue catfish population during routine gill netting in 2015; seek additional opportunities to promote the fishery.
- Maintain communication with the City of Corsicana to monitor the status of pipeline development to Lake Halbert from Richland-Chambers Reservoir.
- Conduct a quantitative assessment of the aquatic plant community and evaluate angler access during routine habitat survey in 2014.
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