Lake Jacksonville - 2008 Survey Report
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Prepared by Richard A. Ott, Jr., PhD and Daniel J. Bennett
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-C, Tyler, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 29-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
The Lake Jacksonville fish community was surveyed from June 2008 through May 2009 using an electrofisher, gill nets, and trap nets. A vegetation survey was conducted in August 2008. A roving creel survey was conducted from December 2008 through May 2009 and collected angler use and harvest information. This report summarizes results of the surveys and contains a management plan based on those findings.
Lake Jacksonville is a 1,208-acre reservoir on Gum Creek (a tributary of the Neches River), Texas, built to provide water for municipal and industrial purposes. Boat and bank angler access is adequate. Handicap-specific facilities were present in the parking lot and restrooms near the main boat ramp. Water is clear and low in productivity. Land surrounding the reservoir is highly modified for residential development and approximately 40% of the shoreline has bulkhead at the land/water interface.
Important sport fish include sunfishes, largemouth bass, channel catfish, white crappie and black crappie. Largemouth bass are managed with an 18-inch minimum-length limit; remaining species are managed under the statewide harvest regulations. Supplemental largemouth bass sampling was conducted in 2006 and stockings were conducted in 2006 and 2007. An integrated vegetation management plan was initiated in 1997 featuring triploid grass carp stocking, release of hydrilla flies, herbicide treatments, and native plant introduction. Vegetation surveys have been conducted twice a year (early spring and late summer). Herbicide treatments were continued annually but hydrilla continued to expand. In 2006 and 2007 a total of 3,890 triploid grass carp were stocked (10 fish/hydrilla acre). In July 2007 a major flood event removed most of the hydrilla and grass carp herbivory prevented reestablishment. By summer 2008 hydrilla was reduced to trace coverage and native vegetation was sparse.
- Prey species: Threadfin shad were present in the reservoir but the prey base continued to be dominated by sunfish species. Electrofishing catch rate of both threadfin and gizzard shad increased over previous surveys; however, most gizzard shad were too large to serve as prey. Catch rates of sunfishes <6 inches was high. Overall prey availability was adequate.
- Catfishes: Channel catfish, although still present, were rare. Only one channel catfish was collected by standardized gill netting in spring 2009.
- White bass: White bass were still present in Lake Jacksonville but abundance is low.
- Black basses: Largemouth bass were the most sought-after species by anglers at Lake Jacksonville during the winter/spring creel survey and angler success was high. Relative abundance was similar to previous surveys but size structure has continued to improve since 2002. Spotted bass were present but contribute little to the fishery.
- Crappie: Crappie was the second most sought after sport fish during the winter/spring creel surveys; however, no crappie were collected in trap nets in 2008.
- Conduct additional electrofishing in fall 2010 to monitor largemouth bass and prey populations.
- Discuss the possibility of the City of Jacksonville purchasing advanced channel catfish fingerlings.
- Continue native vegetation restoration and discuss the possibility of removing protection for triploid grass carp.
- Solicit partners to construct and install bamboo fish attractors.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-34 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program