Martin Creek Reservoir - 2009 Survey Report
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Prepared by Dan Ashe and Todd Driscoll
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-D, Jasper, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 27-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Martin Creek Reservoir were surveyed in 2009 using electrofishing and dual cod trap nets and in 2010 using gill nets. An angler creel survey was conducted from December 2009 through February 2010. An aquatic vegetation survey was conducted in July 2009. This report summarizes the results of these surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Martin Creek Reservoir is located on Martin Creek, a tributary of the Sabine River in Rusk County. Luminant Energy impounded the reservoir in 1974 to provide cooling water for their coal-powered generators. At conservation pool, Martin Creek Reservoir is 4,981 surface acres with a shoreline length of 62 miles, and has a mean depth of 16 feet. Water level fluctuations average 3 feet annually.
The management plan from the 2001 survey report included stocking blue catfish at 50 fish/acre for two consecutive years in an attempt to establish a self-sustaining population to provide catfish anglers an additional sport fish with greater growth potential. Blue catfish fingerlings were stocked into Martin Creek Reservoir in 2003, but limited hatchery production prevented a second stocking until 2007. Triploid grass carp were stocked from 1996 through 1999 at a rate of 0.6/acre each year to reduce hydrilla that covered about a third of the reservoir. Currently, there is little vegetation in the reservoir. The triploid grass carp stockings in conjunction with extreme low water conditions in 1996, 2005, and 2006 have decreased the aquatic vegetation coverage. Brushpiles were introduced in 2007.
- Prey species: Primary prey species were gizzard shad, threadfin shad, and bluegill. Electrofishing catch rates and body condition of largemouth bass suggested that these species provided ample forage for predator species.
- Catfishes: Channel catfish abundance decreased significantly over the last three survey years. Blue catfish fingerlings were stocked in 2003 and 2007, and gill net data indicated good survival and excellent growth. Age data indicated some natural recruitment. However, the popularity of the catfish fishery may have declined, accounting for only 5.9% of the directed angling effort in the winter of 2009/2010 compared to 23.6% directed effort in the spring of 2002.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass provided the most popular fishery during the winter quarter of 2009/2010 (86% of total angling effort). Largemouth bass abundance and size structure were moderate and stable over the last three electrofishing surveys, and fish were in good body condition.
- Crappies: White crappie and black crappie were present but abundance was low. Only seven crappie were collected from trap nets. Although 5.2% of total angling effort was directed towards crappie, no fish were observed caught during the winter-quarter creel survey.
Giant salvinia was discovered in 2009. Inland Fisheries staff has advised park personnel regarding plant identification and transport potential via boat trailers. Vegetation surveys will be conducted annually to monitor giant salvinia. Currently, there is little aquatic vegetation present. Consult with Luminant Energy regarding native plant introduction. When vegetation reestablishes, Inland Fisheries staff will advise the controlling authority on vegetation control. In coordination with State Park staff, additional brushpiles will be introduced.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-35 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program