Lake Hawkins - 2003 Survey Report
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Prepared by Randall A. Myers and Kevin W. Storey
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-B, Tyler, 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.
Lake Hawkins was surveyed during the period June 2003 to May 2004 using electrofishing, trap netting, gill netting, a littoral zone habitat survey, and 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 Hawkins (699 acres) is located, on Little Sandy Creek, a tributary of the Sabine River, in Wood County, Texas. It was constructed for flood control and recreation. Angler access is good with four publicly accessible boat ramps. Bank angling facilities are limited. Habitat features include several native aquatic plant species, Eurasian watermilfoil, boat docks, and standing timber. Total aquatic plant coverage was estimated at 44.6%. Native species occupied 40.4% of total reservoir area and Eurasian watermilfoil occupied 4.2% of the reservoir.
- Prey species: The gizzard shad population of Lake Hawkins is characterized as having low abundance and larger individuals. Electrofishing CPUE of gizzard shad in 2003 was 4.0 fish/hour, with all individuals collected >15 inches in total length. The threadfin shad population is similarly characterized as having low abundance (20 fish/hour). The reservoir’s low fertility limits population abundance of Clupeids. Electrofishing CPUE of bluegill in 2003 (369.0 fish/hour) was higher than in 1999 (223.0 fish/hour) and 1996 (207.0 fish/hour). Fish less than 4 inches in total length continue to dominate the population. Electrofishing CPUE of redear sunfish in 2003 (51.0 fish/hour) was lower than in 1999 (107.0 fish/hour) and similar to in 1996 (58.0 fish/hour). Redear sunfish likely contribute to the recreational fishery as abundance is considered high with large individuals (>6 inches) present. Sunfish species are probably the primary prey of predators in Lake Hawkins.
- Catfishes: Channel catfish abundance remains low despite prior fingerling stockings, with the most recent occurring in 1992. Only one channel catfish was collected in 2003 gill net samples. Blue catfish were stocked in 1982, but none were collected in gill-net samples. Habitat condition (e.g. low reservoir fertility) limits channel and blue catfish populations.
- Black bass: Relative abundance of largemouth bass continued to decrease. In 2003, electrofishing CPUE was 45.0 fish/hour and in 1999 and 1996 CPUE was 71.0 fish/hour and 89.0 fish/hour, respectively. The population consists primarily of fish less than 10 inches total length. Habitat conditions and sub-adult abundance appear sufficient to support a higher abundance of legal-harvestable size fish (>14 inches). However, slow growth and angler harvest likely limit abundance of larger fish. Largemouth bass attain harvestable size during their third year. Stockings of Florida strain largemouth bass (FLMB) in 1975 and 1990 were successful. In 2003, the population contained 50% FLMB alleles, an increase compared to 1999 (37.5% FLMB alleles). No additional stockings are recommended at this time. The attempt to establish a smallmouth bass fishery in Lake Hawkins was unsuccessful as stockings that occurred from 1987 to 1991 failed to produce a self-sustaining population. Smallmouth bass have not been collected during sampling since 1993.
- Crappie: Trap-net CPUE of black crappie remains low. Only 4 total fish were collected in 2003 samples. In 1996 and 1999, no fish >10 inches were collected in trap-net samples.
Based on survey results, all species should continue to be managed under current regulations. Surveys will be conducted periodically to monitor the coverage of Eurasian watermilfoil. Electrofishing will be conducted every other year to monitor largemouth bass abundance and population size structure. In addition, surveys every four years will also monitor growth, and genetic composition.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-29 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program