Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir - 2009 Survey Report
Prepared by Michael S. Baird and John Tibbs
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-B, Waco, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 26-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir were surveyed in 2009 with a boat electrofisher and in 2010 using gill nets. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir is a 6,430 acre reservoir located in Bell County, Texas. The impoundment was created in 1968 and is operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Primary water uses include municipal water supply and recreation. Water levels fluctuate about 5 feet annually; however elevations were near conservation pool (i.e., 622) during sampling periods. Habitat features mainly consisted of natural shorelines.
Sport fishes in Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir have always been managed with statewide regulations. Important sport fish include largemouth and smallmouth bass. The management plan from the 2002 survey report included annual evaluations of hydrilla coverage, and annual comparisons of smallmouth bass catch rates between standardized and non-standardized stations. Standard electrofishing surveys were conducted in 2002 and 2003; however district priorities changed in 2004 and these annual surveys were dropped from the four year rotation. A tier IV age and growth sample was conducted on largemouth bass in 2005 as a result of the district reprioritization. Annual electrofishing of subjectively chosen stations began in 2002, but after only one survey, it was found that the numbers of smallmouth bass collected were insufficient for analysis, and these surveys were dropped. Hydrilla coverage is still surveyed on an annual basis.
- Prey species: The prey base is currently very weak, with numbers and catch rates of all species below historical averages.
- Catfishes: Channel catfish were collected in good numbers for the first time since 1998. All fish collected were of legal size. Flathead catfish are in the reservoir in low numbers.
- White bass: A low density white bass population still exists in the reservoir. Catch rates and condition indices were near average, and individuals up to 15 inches were observed.
- Black basses: The smallmouth bass catch rate was poor, with only a single individual collected. Hopefully, the 2009 stocking of over 10,000 advanced fingerlings and nearly 70,000 fingerlings will rejuvenate this important fishery. The largemouth bass catch rate was good, and the population showed consistent recruitment and individuals to 19 inches in length.
- White crappie: White crappie are still present in the reservoir.
- Perform annual aquatic vegetation surveys for hydrilla, and implement native vegetation plantings with the help of interested constituent and user groups to improve fishery habitat.
- Continue annual stocking requests of 25/acre for smallmouth bass and perform a bass-only electrofishing survey in fall 2011 to monitor the black bass population in general and to determine the recruitment effects from recent smallmouth bass stockings.
- Inform controlling authorities about new exotic species threats to Texas waters, and work with those authorities to display appropriate signage, educate constituents, and understand appropriate enforcement action(s).
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-35 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program