Toledo Bend Reservoir - 2009 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 34-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Toledo Bend Reservoir were surveyed in 2009 and 2010 using electrofishing and gill netting. Anglers were surveyed from June 2009 to May 2010 with a creel survey. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for Texas side of the reservoir.
Toledo Bend Reservoir is a 162,476-acre (71,000 acres in Texas) impoundment of the Sabine River in Newton, Sabine, and Shelby counties in southeast Texas. Water level fluctuations average 5 feet annually, but reached its historic low in 2006 (11 feet below conservation pool). Aquatic habitat consisted of aquatic vegetation (primarily hydrilla and American lotus) and standing timber.
Historically, the black bass fishery has been the most popular at Toledo Bend Reservoir. Typically, 65 to 80% of annual angling effort is directed at black bass. Approximately 10 to 20% of anglers target crappie. With the exception of 2006, TPWD has stocked Florida largemouth bass (FLMB) annually since 1990 to increase abundance of large bass (> 8 pounds). The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) stocks Florida largemouth bass and striped bass annually. Joint efforts with LDWF have resulted in standardization of most harvest regulations, but differences still exist for crappie and catfish. In 1998, giant salvinia was discovered in Toledo Bend Reservoir. In 2008, plant coverage reached the historic high (4,091acres) and impeded angler access. Cold winter water temperatures in 2010 reduced overall coverage to only trace amounts, but plants were scattered throughout the entire reservoir. Control methods have included annual herbicide treatments at access points, releases of salvinia weevils, and a water level drawdown.
- Prey species: Gizzard shad, threadfin shad, and bluegill were the most abundant prey species and provided ample forage for sport fish.
- Catfishes: Abundance of blue catfish has increased over the last three survey years, and high numbers of fish 14 to 22 inches were available to anglers. Channel catfish numbers were variable with a majority of fish < 12 inches. Angling catch rate averaged 2.2/h. Blue catfish and flathead catfish provided trophy opportunities for anglers.
- Temperate basses: White and striped bass were present in the reservoir in low numbers. However, a popular white bass fishery exists in the Sabine River above the reservoir. Yellow bass numbers were high in the reservoir, as annual harvest was approximately 26,000 fish.
- Black basses: Spotted bass were present in low numbers. Largemouth bass abundance was high and stable compared to previous years; size structure and fish condition were good. The black bass fishery was most popular (76.3% of total fishing effort). Angling catch rate was high (1.1/h).
- Crappie: White crappie and black crappie were present in the reservoir. Angling catch (2.6/h) and total annual harvest (137,404 fish) reflected an abundant crappie population.
- Stock FLMB annually to maintain and improve large fish abundance.
- Monitor largemouth bass population annually with electrofishing (both spring and fall) and biennially with creel surveys.
- Continue tournament-monitoring program and supplemental creel questions to more effectively monitor large fish abundance.
- Monitor giant salvinia coverage annually to document plant distribution and effects of control measures.
- 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-35 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program