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Lake Palestine - 2005 Survey Report

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Prepared by Patrick A. Beck and Richard A. Ott, Jr., Ph.D.
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-C, Tyler, Texas

This is the authors' summary from a 51-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.

The Lake Palestine fish community was surveyed from June 2005–May 2006 using electrofishing, gill nets, and trap nets. A habitat and vegetation survey was conducted in August 2005. A roving-creel survey conducted from June 1, 2005–May 31, 2006 collected angler use and harvest information. This report summarizes results of the surveys and contains a management plan based on those findings.

Reservoir Description

Lake Palestine is a 23,434-acre reservoir on the Neches River, Texas, built to provide water for municipal and industrial purposes. Boat access is adequate, but public bank angler access is limited to public boat ramps or at bridge crossings at which parking is limited. None of the public boat ramps have facilities marked as handicap-specific, but the courtesy pier nearest the dam has guard rails making wheelchair accessibility possible. The reservoir contains a diversity of littoral habitat types. Although submersed aquatic vegetation is locally abundant above the Hwy 315 bridge in the Kickapoo arm of the reservoir, overall surface coverage still remains below 9%.

Management History

Important sport fish include sunfishes (Lepomis spp.), largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), white bass (Morone chrysops), palmetto bass (Morone chrysops X saxatilis), blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus), channel catfish (I. punctatus), white crappie (Pomoxis annularus) and black crappie (P. nigromaculatus). The management plan from 2001 included stockings of Florida largemouth bass (M. s. floridanus) to increase Florida alleles in the population. Stockings were conducted in 2004 and 2005. The 12-inch length limit for white bass reverted to the statewide 10-inch limit in September 2003. Biennial monitoring of largemouth bass size distribution and growth rate has continued. Additional monitoring of temperate bass and catfish also occurs on a biennial basis. Vegetation surveys identified hydrilla (Hydrilla verticilata) and waterhyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) in the system. Attempts were made to control waterhyacinth through manual removal.

Fish Community

Management Strategies

Largemouth bass are important in this system, therefore, additional monitoring of their growth rates and size distribution will be conducted in fall of 2006 and 2008. The sampling will also provide fish for electrophoretic analysis. Channel catfish recruitment and population structure will continue to be monitored in 2008 and 2010 samples.

News releases promoting the blue catfish fishery will be continued. A long term research project investigating stocking of palmetto bass has been proposed. Discussion with the controlling authority regarding improved bank access will continue.

Sport Fish Restoration Logo

Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-31 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program



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