Sam Rayburn Reservoir - 2006 Survey Report
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Prepared by Todd Driscoll and Dan Ashe
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-D, Jasper, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 36-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Sam Rayburn Reservoir were surveyed in 2006 using electrofishing and trap nets and in 2007 using gill nets. Anglers were surveyed from June 2006 - May 2007 with a creel. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir.
Sam Rayburn Reservoir is an 111,422-acre impoundment of the Angelina River in Jasper, Tyler, Angelina, Nacogdoches, San Augustine, and Sabine counties in southeast Texas. Water level fluctuations average 6.7 feet annually. Aquatic habitat consisted of aquatic vegetation (primarily hydrilla and American lotus) and standing timber.
Historically, the black bass fishery is the most popular at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Typically, 65 - 75% of annual angling effort is directed at black bass, which includes over 300 bass tournaments per year. Approximately 15 - 20% of anglers target crappie and 4 - 8% target catfish. Angler interest in more restrictive length limits for largemouth bass and potential impacts of bass tournaments prompted research in 2004 - 2007. Results indicated that the proportion of the largemouth bass population harvested was relatively low (9%) and more restrictive length limits would provide little benefit. In addition, the research found that impacts of tournaments on the largemouth bass population were low (only 5% of population retained by tournament anglers). Florida largemouth bass (FLMB) have been stocked annually since 1994 to attain > 20% pure FLMB in the population. Palmetto bass were stocked annually from 1995 - 2000 but discontinued due to low angler directed effort and harvest. Introduction of giant salvinia via transport from Toledo Bend Reservoir has been a major concern but has not been documented.
- Prey species: Gizzard shad, threadfin shad, and bluegill were the most abundant prey species and provided ample forage for sport fish.
- Catfishes: Abundances of blue and channel catfish were stable compared to previous years. Angler catch rates averaged 2.6/hour. Blue and flathead catfish provided a trophy opportunity for anglers.
- Temperate basses: White bass were present in the reservoir but numbers were low. Palmetto bass stockings were discontinued after 2000 and few fish remain. Few anglers target temperate bass.
- Black basses: Spotted bass were present in low numbers. Largemouth bass abundance was high and stable compared to previous years, and size structure and fish condition was good. The black bass fishery was most popular (70.5% of anglers targeted bass). Angler catch rates were high (0.78/hour).
- Crappie: White and black crappie were present in the reservoir. Angler catch (2.4/hour) and total annual harvest (226,160 fish) reflected an abundant crappie population.
- Stock FLMB annually to maintain and improve trophy fish abundance.
- Monitor largemouth bass population annually with electrofishing and creel surveys.
- Continue tournament-monitoring program to more effectively monitor larger fish abundance.
- Maintain educational signs and conduct annual vegetation surveys to minimize potential impacts of giant salvinia.
- Monitor the crappie fishery via annual creel surveys.
- Conduct research to estimate total economic value of tournament and recreational angling.
- Monitor the catfish populations with gill net surveys every two years.
- Publish monthly articles in the Lakecaster highlighting TPWD activities.
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