Lake Murvaul - 2008 Survey Report
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Prepared by Timothy J. Bister and Michael W. Brice
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-A, Marshall, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 31-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Lake Murvaul were surveyed in 2008 using electrofishing and trap netting, and in 2009 using gill netting. Anglers were surveyed from March 2007 through May 2007 and March 2009 through May 2009 with a roving creel survey. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake Murvaul is a 3,820-acre impoundment constructed in 1958 on Murvaul Creek in the Sabine River Basin. Structural habitat is mainly inundated timber and natural shoreline features. Native aquatic plant abundance is limited, but hydrilla coverage has increased in recent years and has provided submersed aquatic vegetation habitat. Giant salvinia was found and removed adjacent to a boat ramp on the reservoir.
The trophy largemouth bass fishery at Lake Murvaul has been a focus of fisheries management efforts for many years. The fishery is currently managed with a 14- to 21-inch protective slot-length limit with a 5-fish daily bag, of which only one fish can be greater than 21 inches. Florida largemouth bass were stocked in 2008 and 2009 to maintain this trophy fishery. Other important sport fish include channel catfish and crappie. Both species are managed with statewide harvest regulations.
- Prey species: Both gizzard shad and threadfin shad were present in the latest survey. Over 50% of gizzard shad were small enough to be available as prey to most sport fish. Bluegill is the most abundant sunfish species in the reservoir and serves as an excellent prey source for predators.
- Catfishes: Gill netting catch rates of channel catfish were higher in 2009 than in the past two surveys. In addition, there were many channel catfish collected above legal length (12 inches) during the latest survey. Thirty-six percent of all angling effort at Lake Murvaul was directed towards catfish from March through May 2009. Anglers caught 1.2 catfish per hour of fishing and harvested 93% of all legal fish caught.
- Largemouth bass: Electrofishing catch rates of all largemouth bass in 2008 were slightly lower than previous surveys. However, the percentage of fish longer than 14 inches was higher than previous years and in line with trophy management objectives. Fish body condition was adequate, indicating adequate prey availability. Growth rates of largemouth bass were moderate. Twenty-three percent of the directed effort from March through May 2009 at Lake Murvaul was from anglers targeting largemouth bass; which placed largemouth bass directed effort third behind crappie and catfish.
- Crappie: Trap netting catch rates of crappie in 2008 were moderate. Directed angling effort was highest for crappie compared to other species in the 2009 spring survey period. Anglers caught 1.5 fish per hour and harvested all legal-size crappie from March through May 2009.
- Conduct electrofishing surveys every other year beginning in 2010, and general monitoring with trap nets in 2012 and gill nets in 2013.
- Invasive aquatic vegetation surveys will be conducted annually. Technical guidance will be given to controlling authority regarding invasive aquatic vegetation management as necessary.
- Largemouth bass will continue to be managed with a 14- to 21-inch slot-length limit. Florida largemouth bass stocking is recommended annually to maintain the trophy fishery.
- Spring-quarter (March through May) angler creel surveys will be conducted every 4 years beginning 2013.
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