Possum Kingdom Reservoir - 2006 Survey Report
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Prepared by Mark Howell and Robert Mauk
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-E, Wichita Falls, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 40-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Possum Kingdom Reservoir were surveyed in 2006 using trap nets and electrofishing and in 2007 using gill nets. A creel survey was conducted during June–November 2006 and March–May 2007. This report summarizes the survey results and contains a management plan based on the findings.
Possum Kingdom Reservoir is a 15,588-acre impoundment located on the Brazos River approximately 76 miles west of Fort Worth. It has a primarily rocky shoreline with many boat docks. The reservoir was within 7 feet of conservation pool (1,000 ft. above mean sea level) from July of 2004 through May 2007.
Important sport fish include catfish, white bass, striped bass, largemouth bass, and white crappie. Possum Kingdom was managed under statewide regulations until September 1, 2002 when the largemouth bass minimum length limit was raised to 16 inches and the striped bass bag limit was lowered to two per day in response to a golden alga (Prymnesium parvum) fish kill that occurred in early 2001.
- Prey species: The 2006 gizzard shad catch rate was the highest ever recorded for the reservoir. Threadfin shad were also collected in adequate numbers indicating plentiful forage for game fish. The catch per unit effort (CPUE) for bluegill was also quite high.
- Catfishes: The 2007 CPUE for blue catfish was slightly higher than the previous surveys conducted after 2001. The gill net survey for the channel catfish showed a much higher relative abundance, with many young fish. We expect flathead catfish still exist but they have not been documented since the February 2001 gill net survey.
- Temperate basses: White bass CPUE was down compared to the 2003 and 2005 gill net surveys. However, harvest and fishing effort measured by the 2006-07 creel survey was much increased over the 2000-01 survey. Striped bass total CPUE in 2007 increased slightly compared to the 2005 gill net survey. Stock size CPUE increased even more from 2005 to 2007. Body condition as measured by relative weight was good for striped bass. Some striped bass reached legal size within two years. Fishing effort and harvest as measured by the 2006-07 creel survey showed a marked decline for striped bass from the 2000-01 survey.
- Largemouth bass: The 2006 largemouth bass electrofishing sample matched the historical CPUE reservoir average for previous surveys. The reservoir elevation was about 6.5 feet below full when sampling occurred and probably caused a lower catch rate than normal in the upper reservoir where shallow bare banks were sampled. No spotted or smallmouth bass were observed during the 2006-07 surveys.
- Crappie: The 2006 white crappie CPUE was slightly lower than the 2004 survey but higher than in 2002. Recruitment continues to be good with an adequate abundance of legal-size fish. One black crappie was observed during the 2006 survey and the species persists in low numbers.
Populations of catfish, white bass and largemouth bass are in good shape and should be promoted to increase angler effort. The striped bass population and fishing effort has declined since the initial golden alga induced fish kill in 2001. Striped bass annual stocking efforts should continue. Previous golden alga kills may have given anglers a more negative image than warranted about current fish populations. Additional sampling will occur as gill net surveys will occur every other year starting in 2009 with the effort doubled to 30 net nights per survey. Electrofishing will also occur every other year.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-32 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program