Hubbard Creek Reservoir - 2011 Survey Report
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Prepared by Spencer Dumont
Inland Fisheries Division
District 1-B, Abilene, 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.
Fish populations in Hubbard Creek Reservoir were surveyed in 2011 using electrofishing and trap nets and in 2012 using gill nets. This report summarizes survey results and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Hubbard Creek Reservoir is a 15,250-acre impoundment constructed on Sandy Creek and Hubbard Creek, tributaries of the Brazos River. It is approximately 55 miles northeast of Abilene, Texas. It was constructed in 1962 for municipal water supply and flood control. There was a long-lasting drought from 1998 through summer 2007 as water level dropped to 18 feet below conservation level in 2002 and 2005. It nearly filled in summer 2007 with a water level increase of 13 feet and finally filled in spring 2008. Water level was about 15 feet below conservation level at time of sampling in fall 2011, and littoral habitat consisted primarily of rock, dead brush, featureless mud flats, and hydrilla.
Fish populations have always been managed with statewide harvest regulations. Threadfin shad were introduced in 1984 and remain an important prey species. Palmetto bass were stocked twice (1979 and 1982). No palmetto bass have been collected since 2000. Florida largemouth bass were introduced in 1979, and additional stockings occurred in 1986, 1990, 1991, 2003, and 2011.
- Prey species: Bluegill, small gizzard shad, and threadfin shad abundance has been consistently low in this reservoir and has declined following a peak in 2007.
- Catfishes: Blue and channel catfish numbers and size distribution should support sportfishing opportunities. Flathead catfish were present in the reservoir.
- White bass: Catch of white bass in 2012 was much lower than it was in 2008. Over half of the white bass collected were over 10 inches long. The largest white bass collected was 15 inches long.
- Largemouth bass: There was reproductive success in 2011, even with a low and dropping water level. There was a shift to larger fish (14 inches and longer) in 2011 compared to previous surveys. Body condition and growth were poor.
- White crappie: Numbers and size of adult fish provided excellent angling opportunities the last few years. Low water level had no apparent negative effect on the white crappie population but did restrict angler access to Sandy Creek in winter 2011-2012.
- Monitor hydrilla coverage annually.
- Complete two-year stocking plan for largemouth bass.
- Educate the public about negative impacts of invasive species and how to prevent their spread.
- Monitor fish populations with electrofishing and trap nets in 2013 and with gill nets, trap nets, and electrofishing in 2015/2016.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-2 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program