Fort Phantom Hill Reservoir - 2011 Survey Report
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Prepared by Spencer C. Dumont
Inland Fisheries Division
District 1-B, Abilene, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 34-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Fort Phantom Hill Reservoir were surveyed in 2011 using electrofishing and trap nets and in 2012 using gill nets. This report summarizes survey results and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Fort Phantom Hill Reservoir is a 4,246-acre impoundment constructed on Elm Creek approximately 15 miles north of Abilene, Texas. It is located in the Brazos River Basin, and its primary use was municipal water supply. Secondary use was recreation. Beginning in December 2003, power-plant generation was reduced to peak use only. The power plant disassembly began in 2011 and was finished in 2012. Improvements to the main boat ramp included a breakwater structure installed in 2011 to reduce wave-action on the boat ramp and boat dock and an extension of two boat-ramp lanes in 2012. The reservoir filled to conservation level in August 2007, 10 years after it was last full. Water level was 10-feet low at time of sampling. Habitat was primarily rock and mud flats.
Walleye were stocked 10 times from 1973 to 1995 before requests were discontinued because of poor stocking success and failure to establish a fishery. Blue catfish were introduced in 1974. An 18-inch minimum length limit on blue catfish existed from 1993 to 1999 before reinstatement to the statewide regulation. Threadfin shad were introduced in 1984 and the population is self-sustaining. Florida largemouth bass were introduced in 1976 and have been stocked eight times from 1976 to 2001. A 16-inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass, in effect from 1994 to 2012, will change to the statewide 14-inch minimum length limit on 1 September 2012. Palmetto bass were introduced in 1977 and have since been stocked nearly every year.
- Prey species: Small gizzard shad was the primary forage, but bluegill and threadfin shad were also important. These species provided an excellent forage as indicted by good growth and body condition of existing sport fish.
- Catfishes: Blue catfish were the most abundant catfish in this reservoir, and 69% of the blue catfish collected were legal size (12 inches) or longer. A 51-lb blue catfish was caught in 2011, shattering the previous water-body record (36 lbs). Channel catfish and flathead catfish were present in the reservoir.
- Temperate basses: White bass and palmetto bass were abundant and many were legal size.
- Largemouth bass: Abundance of adult largemouth bass has increased since 2007. Abundance of larger fish (> 14 inches long) in 2011 was the highest since 1989. Changes in water level have had a large impact on largemouth bass at Fort Phantom Hill Reservoir.
- White crappie: White crappie continued to be abundant, but less than in recent years, and 33% of adult fish were legal size or longer.
- Continue stocking palmetto bass annually.
- Educate the public about negative impacts of invasive species and how to prevent their spread.
- Continue trap-net, electrofishing, and gill-net surveys at two-year intervals.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-2 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program