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Texoma Reservoir - 2004 Survey Report

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Prepared by Bruce Hysmith and John H. Moczygemba
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-A, Pottsboro, Texas

This is the authors' summary from a 56-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.

Texoma Reservoir was surveyed in 2004 using trap nets and electrofisher, and in 2005 using gill nets. This report summarizes the results of these surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir.

Reservoir Description

Texoma Reservoir, a 74,686-acre impoundment on the Red River, was constructed in 1944 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is located 75 miles north of Dallas-Fort Worth. Denison Dam impounds waters of the Red and Washita Rivers. Texoma Reservoir drains approximately 40,000 square miles in west Texas and central and western Oklahoma. The shoreline is 580 miles long and has a shoreline development index of 13.88. Water depth < 15 feet accounts for approximately 40% of the reservoir. In 1992 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers implemented a reservoir water-level management plan that was a consensus of the Texoma Reservoir Advisory Committee made up of various conservation/recreation agency personnel, area businesses, and chambers of commerce. The plan varies from the conventional reservoir conservation elevation (617-ft-msl) in that water level is allowed to drop to a level below conservation elevation during the spring and early fall. Reservoir level is then maintained above the conservation elevation during summer, late fall and early winter. Reservoir purpose(s) include flood control; hydropower generation; municipal, industrial, and agricultural water supply; and recreation. Boat access is adequate with 42 public ramps and bank access is available at 42 sites. Despite improvements in some public facilities, many areas around the lake that have been open to the public are now closed, are scheduled to be closed, or have been turned over to private concessionaires who either disallow angling or charge a fee. Boat ramps that were free now require a fee. Access to facilities for the physically challenged was provided. Fish habitat is primarily rock riprap, flooded boulders/rocks/stumps, boat docks, boat ramps, and standing timber.

Golden Alga

Golden alga (Prymnesium parvum) was discovered in Texoma Reservoir January 24, 2004 in the Lebanon Pool upstream on the Red River arm. Upon investigation, shortnose, longnose, and spotted gar were observed stressed or dead. On March 6, 2004 four white crappie and one largemouth bass collected from Cedar Mills Resort on the Big Mineral Bay of Texoma Reservoir displayed injuries consistent with golden alga. On March 10, staff investigated and found dead, dying, and stressed threadfin shad, freshwater drum, bluegill, and crappie from Cedar Mills Resort to Highport Marina, described as the major kill zone. The kill reached Lazy Acres Cove east of Highport Marina Bay and no further. Dead and dying fish continued to be observed in the area from Cedar Mills Resort to Lazy Acres Cove until March 23/24. Overall estimates of the kill from January through March, 2004, indicated approximately one million fish, mostly threadfin shad, died.

After many meetings among Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) biologists and administrators a plan was implemented to start collecting water samples at 17 sites from Texoma Reservoir by October 18, 2004 (Appendix K and L). Throughout the 2004-2005 season, no stressed or dead fish were observed.

In summary, the major difference in Texoma Reservoir during the event of 2004 versus the event of 2004-2005 was water level and inflow. In 2004, water level was low (Appendix E) with no inflow on either river system and in 2004-2005 water level was high (Appendix E) and there was inflow on both river systems. While we have no definitive data, except the presence of dead and dying fish in 2004 and no dead or dying fish in 2004-2005, we believe the severity of golden alga events may be linked to dilution of the toxin. In both events golden alga cells were present and in both events measurable toxin was present. There was an indirect impact to the sport fish community resulting from the kill of 2004. Although 95% of the dead fish were threadfin shad, they comprise a major source of prey for sport fishes in the reservoir. This indirect impact has not manifested itself in an overt decline in recreational angling activities, nor has it affected the abundance and health of the fisheries resources. Ironically, striped bass angling during and following the event of 2004 was better than it had been for years according to anecdotal information from several fishing guides on the reservoir.

Fish Community

Management Strategies

Sport Fish Restoration Logo

Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-30 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program



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