Mill Creek Reservoir - 2004 Survey Report
Prepared by Aaron K. Jubar and Kevin W. Storey
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-B, Tyler, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 24-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Mill Creek Reservoir was surveyed from June 2004 to May 2005 using electrofishing, trap netting, gill netting, a littoral zone habitat, and an aquatic vegetation survey. This report summarizes survey results and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Mill Creek Reservoir is located in Van Zandt County, Texas on Mill Creek, a tributary of the Sabine River. It was constructed by the City of Canton in 1976 for municipal water supply. Nearly all of the shoreline was classified as featureless. Native submerged aquatic plants comprise the majority of the structural habitat at a level which is considered excessive. Hydrilla has recently become established and is present in 2% of the lake’s surface area.
- Prey species: Gizzard shad catch rate while electrofishing was lower in 2004 (75.0 fish/hour) than in 1997 (181.0 fish/hour) and 2000 (336.0 fish/hour). All gizzard shad collected in 2004 electrofishing were 7 inches or longer. This decrease in gizzard shad abundance is likely associated with an increase in submerged aquatic macrophytes which absorb available nutrients making them unavailable to plankton which clupeids are dependent upon. Bluegill and redear sunfish abundances in 2004 were also reduced compared with previous years. This decrease is possibly an artifact of increased abundance of aquatic macrophytes which makes it difficult to sample littoral areas effectively. Prey species abundances appear adequate; however, relative weights of largemouth bass were reduced compared with previous years, which may be related to decreased prey accessibility.
- Catfishes: Although Mill Creek Reservoir has been stocked with blue catfish and channel catfish (1992 and 1993, respectively), few individuals are ever collected in gill nets. In spring 2005, 3 large blue catfish (36 to 50 inches) were collected. Sampling indicates that prior stockings have not resulted in the establishment of self-sustaining catfish populations.
- Black bass: Total electrofishing catch rate of largemouth bass was similar in 2004 (64.0 fish/hour) compared with 2000 (50.0 fish/hour) and 2002 (48.0 fish/hour). More than 50% of the fish collected in 2004 were below stock size (>8 inches), a higher proportion than seen in the two previous surveys (25 – 36%). The percentage of stock size fish within the protected slot length limit (16%) was lower than in 2000 (38%) and 2002 (39%). Additional electrofishing sampling conducted in spring 2005 showed 46% of the sample was fish below stock size and a higher proportion of stock sized fish (49%) in the protected slot was also observed. The percentage of Florida largemouth bass (FLMB) alleles in samples collected between 1994 and 2004 has remained reasonably consistent (range 56 – 63%) The contribution of pure FLMB has ranged from 7.5 to 33.3%.
- Largemouth bass: Six individual largemouth bass, ranging from 5 to 7 inches in length, were collected during an electrofishing survey in 2002. No largemouth bass were collected in the 2004 electrofishing survey.
- Crappie: Few white (0.8/net night) or black crappie (4.6/net night) were collected during trap net sampling in 2004. Fall 2000 was an exception to the general rule, when catch rates of black crappie (109.8 fish/net night) and white crappie (31.0 fish/net night) were extremely high. At that time, nearly all of the crappies collected were adults and about half were greater than 10 inches in total length. The crappie populations of Mill Creek Reservoir are usually of low density.
Mill Creek Reservoir was included in a long-term evaluation, Operation World Record, of the effectiveness of stocking offspring of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Budweiser ShareLunker broodfish because of the lake’s small size and history of producing trophy largemouth bass. Angler harvest of all sport fishes should continue to be restricted according to the current regulations.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-30 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program