Lake Striker - 2003 Survey Report
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Prepared by Todd Driscoll
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-D, Jasper, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 23-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Lake Striker was surveyed in 2003-2004 with electrofishing, trap nets, gill nets, a structural habitat/aquatic vegetation survey, and an angler access survey. This report summarizes the results of these surveys and comparisons are made to historical data (1986-2003). Based on this information, a management plan was developed for the reservoir.
Lake Striker is located on Striker Creek, a tributary of the Angelina River in the Neches River basin. The Angelina-Nacogdoches County Water Control and Improvement District is the controlling authority. The reservoir was constructed for flood control and condenser cooling for a steam-electric generating station. At conservation pool (292 feet msl), Lake Striker is 1,920 surface acres in size, has a shoreline length of 53 miles, and a mean depth of 15 feet. Water level fluctuations average 2 feet annually. Angler and boat access is adequate. A courtesy dock accommodates handicap access, but is in need of repair. Habitat consists of aquatic vegetation, standing timber, and boat docks. The reservoir is relatively turbid and unproductive, with most of the surrounding land used for farming and timber production.
- Prey species: Primary prey species include gizzard shad, threadfin shad, and bluegill. Overall prey abundance appears to be inadequate and may be limiting sportfish abundance in the reservoir. Since 1996, data indicate that the majority of the gizzard shad population is comprised of adults too large to be utilized by predators. Although catch rates increased in 2003, most of this sample included fish > 9 inches in length. Threadfin shad are present but numbers are low. Catch rates in 2003 (7.0/hour) were similar to the historical reservoir average (3.2/hour). Bluegill is the most abundant prey species at the reservoir, but 2003 catch rates (65.0/hour) were lower than 1996 (106.7/hour), 1999 (259.0/hour), and historical reservoir averages (145.0/hour).
- Catfishes: Historically, channel catfish catch rates have averaged 7.1 fish/net night. Catch rates in 1996 (4.2/net night) and 1999 (0.8/net night) were relatively low and reflect a decline in channel catfish recruitment. In 2003, however, catch rates (8.8/net night) and size structure (fish ranged from 6 – 18 inches in length) indicate several years of increased survival of juvenile channel catfish. Currently, channel catfish are in good condition, as relative weights exceeded 89. A limited number of flathead catfish are also present.
- Temperate basses: White bass are present in the reservoir, but their population density remains low. The catch rate in 2003 (3.0/net night) was similar to the historical reservoir average (2.2/net night). Hybrid striped bass were stocked in 1998 and 1999 to provide an additional fishery, but none of these fish were collected in 1999 or 2003.
- Black bass: Historically, catch rates of spotted bass have been high (138.9/hour). In 1996, the catch rate (258.0/hour) exceeded this average and relative weights were desirable (>100). However, catch rates were lower in 1999 (77.0/hour) and 2003 (66.0/hour) and relative weights reflected a decline in fish condition. Similar to trends of spotted bass abundance, largemouth bass catch rates also decreased in 2003 (24.0/hour) when compared to those in 1999 (80.0/hour) and 1996 (51.3/hour) and were lower than the reservoir average (64.2/hour). The apparent reduction of black bass recruitment rates is likely due to inadequate prey and insufficient cover (i.e. submerged aquatic vegetation). Although no age-0 largemouth bass were submitted for genetic analysis in 2003, Florida largemouth bass stockings in 1995 and 1997 were successful, as percentages of pure Florida largemouth bass increased dramatically since 1995. However, the number of legal-sized fish (> 14 inches) has remained low since 1996 (RSD-14 < 7). Growth rates of sub-legal fish are similar to ecological region averages, but data on larger fish is lacking. A 14-18 inch slot limit was used from 1993 to 1999 in conjunction with Florida largemouth bass stockings to improve the quality of this fishery. Parks and Seidensticker (1998) concluded that this regulation was ineffective and the statewide 14-inch minimum length limit was readopted September 1, 1999.
- Crappie: Although black crappies are present in the reservoir, white crappies comprise most of the trap net catch. Historical catch rates for both species have been low (reservoir average = 1.6/net night). An insufficient prey base likely limits crappie recruitment.
Based on current information, this reservoir should continue to be managed with current regulations. It appears that an inadequate prey base currently limits the abundance of black bass and crappie. Low prey density is a likely result of low primary production due to watershed characteristics and the relatively turbid nature of the reservoir. No additional fish stockings are suggested due to limited prey abundance.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-29 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program