Mill Creek Reservoir - 2012 Survey Report
Prepared by Kevin W. Storey and Daniel L. Bennett
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-B, Tyler, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 20-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Mill Creek Reservoir were surveyed in 2012 using electrofishing and in 2013 using gill netting. Aquatic vegetation and habitat surveys were conducted on Mill Creek Reservoir during August 2012. An additional electrofishing survey was conducted in fall 2010 to monitor largemouth bass. Historical data are presented with the 2012-2013 data for comparison. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Mill Creek Reservoir is a 237-acre impoundment located in Van Zandt County, Texas, on Mill Creek, a tributary of the Sabine River. The reservoir was constructed by the City of Canton in 1976 for municipal water supply. At conservation elevation, most of the available habitat in the reservoir consists of emergent aquatic vegetation, which occurs along much of the shoreline. In recent surveys, native submerged vegetation has been scarce.
Largemouth Bass and crappies are the most important sport fishes. The management plan from the 2008 survey report recommended conducting routine monitoring of the Largemouth Bass population and sampling ShareLunker offspring stocked in 2005 and 2007 as part of Operation World Record. The lack of habitat in the reservoir has been identified as a topic of concern.
- Prey species: The prey fish community of Mill Creek Reservoir is dominated by Bluegill and Redear Sunfish. Other sunfish species are less abundant. Electrofishing catch per unit effort of Bluegill was high, with most fish measuring less than 5 inches in length. Redear Sunfish were also abundant, with some greater than 6 inches observed. Threadfin Shad were more abundant than Gizzard Shad, and few of the latter were of an appropriate size for predators.
- Catfishes: No Channel or Blue Catfish were collected in the spring 2013 gill netting survey. A few large Blue Catfish were captured in 2005, the last year when either species was collected. These species are suffering from poor recruitment, likely the result of predation by Largemouth Bass.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth Bass were moderately abundant, but reduced numbers of fish were collected in the protective 14- to 21-inch slot length limit. Body condition of Largemouth Bass tended to be good, indicating an adequate supply of prey.
- Crappies: Catches of both White and Black Crappie have been documented in trap net catches in previous surveys but optional sampling was not conducted as a result of past variability of catches and labor constraints.
- Conduct fall electrofishing surveys on a biennial basis to monitor the Largemouth Bass population and schedule an optional trap net survey in 2016 to monitor crappie populations. Gill netting will be discontinued since no fish have been collected in the past two surveys.
- Continue access and vegetation surveys in 2016.
- A roving creel survey is proposed for spring 2016 to monitor angler effort, catch, and harvest rates.
- Work will commence with the City of Canton and interested volunteers to make habitat improvements by introducing native aquatic plants and fish attractors.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-3 Inland Fisheries Division Monitoring and Management Program