New Ballinger Reservoir - 2008 Survey Report
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Prepared by Mukhtar Farooqi and Mandy K. Scott
Inland Fisheries Division
District 1-C, San Angelo, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 18-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in New Ballinger Reservoir were surveyed in 2008 using electrofishing and trap nets, and in 2009 using gill nets. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
New Ballinger Reservoir is a 591-acre impoundment located on Valley Creek in the Colorado River basin in Runnels County, Texas. It was constructed in 1984 for municipal water supply and recreation. The reservoir water level dropped dramatically from 1997 to 2004, and the boat ramp was closed to the public for several of those years. The reservoir returned to conservation pool elevation by March 2005. Boat and shoreline access are good, and habitat is predominantly flooded saltcedar. Watershed land use is primarily ranching.
Important sport fish included largemouth bass, white crappie, white bass, channel catfish and blue catfish. Following its construction in 1984, the reservoir was initially stocked with threadfin shad, coppernose bluegill, redbreast sunfish, blue catfish, channel catfish, palmetto bass, smallmouth bass, Florida largemouth bass and walleye. A severe drop in water level from 1997 to 2004 left the reservoir nearly dry. In 2005 the reservoir reached conservation level and was subsequently stocked with adult gizzard shad, bluegill, largemouth bass, white crappie, and fingerling channel catfish, Florida largemouth bass and walleye to re-build the fishery. Sport fish harvest has been managed according to statewide regulations.
- Prey species: Electrofishing catch rate of gizzard shad and index of vulnerability were good and higher than that recorded in the two previous surveys. A large proportion (82%) of these fish was available as prey to most sport fish. Electrofishing catch rate of bluegill was high, and size structure was good; fish up to seven inches in length were collected. Threadfin shad were present, but in low abundance.
- Catfishes: No blue catfish were collected in gill nets in 2009. The catch rate of blue catfish has been in steady decline since 2005. Channel catfish catch rate was low, as was the case in 2007 and 2005, although some larger fish (up to 29 inches in length) were collected in 2009. Flathead catfish were present in low numbers.
- White bass: White bass catch rate remained relatively low, however nearly all the fish collected were of harvestable size. Fish up to 16 inches in length were recorded.
- Largemouth bass: Abundance and size structure improved since the last two surveys, highlighting the recovery of this population from the low water conditions of 1997 to 2004. The largest fish collected was 19 inches in length.
- Crappie: Overall catch rate was lower than in previous years and the abundance of harvestable size fish (≥10 inches in length) has remained relatively low.
- Walleye: No walleye were collected by gill nets in 2009. In fact, none have been collected in the three previous surveys.
Based on current data, New Ballinger Reservoir should continue to be managed with existing regulations. The reservoir should be monitored to evaluate the recovering fish populations. A mandatory standard survey is scheduled in 2012-2013 with trap nets, gill nets, and electrofishing gear to assess important fish populations. Additional sampling is scheduled for 2010-2011 with electrofishing gear and gill nets to monitor the recovery of fish populations.
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