Lake Tawakoni - 2010 Survey Report
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Prepared by Kevin W. Storey
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-B, Tyler, 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 Lake Tawakoni were surveyed in 2010 using electrofishing and in 2011 using gill netting, a littoral zone habitat survey, and an aquatic vegetation survey. An access-point creel survey was conducted from June 2008 through May 2009. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir.
Lake Tawakoni is located in Van Zandt, Rains, and Hunt Counties, Texas on South Fork and Cowleech Fork of the Sabine River and Caddo Creek. It was constructed by the Sabine River Authority to provide water for municipal and industrial uses and for recreational purposes. During the past 4 years lake elevations have decreased on two occasions for periods of approximately 12 consecutive months. In January 2009 the elevation reached its lowest level of that period at 4.9 feet below conservation pool elevation. Between November 2009 and April 2011, lake elevation decreased by 4.1 feet. The land-water interface was primarily natural shoreline (85.2%) and shoreline modifications consisted of piers and docks (14.0%), rocky shorelines (11.9%) and bulkheading (2.7%). The most abundant littoral habitat type was native emergent vegetation (60.4%) followed by flooded terrestrial vegetation (44.7%).
Important sport fishes in Lake Tawakoni include striped bass, hybrid striped bass (palmetto bass and sunshine bass), white bass, blue catfish, channel catfish, and largemouth bass. Annual requests are submitted to stock striped bass and palmetto bass at a rate of 5/acre.
- Prey species: Lake Tawakoni contained populations of both gizzard shad and threadfin shad of appropriate size to provide prey for sport fish. Sunfishes such as bluegill, redear sunfish, and longear sunfish added diversity to the prey fish populations.
- Catfishes: Lake Tawakoni continued to support quality fisheries for blue and channel catfish. This species group accounted for 44.6% of directed angler effort. Blue catfish were by far the more abundant species although more channel catfish harvest was observed. Both species exhibit ample evidence of successful reproduction and body conditions were good.
- Temperate basses: A diverse mixture of temperate bass species are supported by Lake Tawakoni’s ample prey base and abundant open water habitat. Quality fisheries for white bass, striped bass, and hybrid striped bass co-exist in the lake and these combined fisheries contributed 35% of directed angler effort. Annual requests are made for stockings of striped bass and palmetto bass.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass populations have been historically stable but the lake’s tendency to rapidly lose aquatic habitat with declining lake elevation often limits catches of bass in electrofishing. Largemouth bass anglers contributed 12% of directed angler effort. Florida largemouth bass were stocked in 2010 and 2011.
- Crappie: White and black crappie were present in the reservoir, but they accounted for less than 3% of directed fishing effort.
- Annual requests for stockings of both striped bass and palmetto bass will continue at a rate of 5 fish per acre for each species.
- An optional gill netting survey will be conducted in Spring 2013, and general monitoring involving gill netting and electrofishing surveys will be repeated in 2014-2015.
- An aquatic vegetation survey will be conducted in 2014 and annual surveys will be performed to check for the presence of waterhyacinth.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-1 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program