Lake Travis - 2006 Survey Report
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Prepared by Marcos J. De Jesus and Stephan J. Magnelia
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-C, San Marcos, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 29-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Lake Travis were surveyed in 2006 using electrofishing and in 2007 using gill nets. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a fisheries management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake Travis is an 18,622-acre impoundment of the Colorado River located in Travis and Burnet Counties, approximately 12 miles northwest of Austin. It was constructed in 1942 by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) for purposes of flood control, municipal and industrial water supplies, irrigation, and hydroelectric power. Lake Travis has a Shoreline Development Index of 18.3. The basin is steep-sided with relatively few shallow coves and shoal areas. This reservoir experiences extreme water level fluctuations and lies within the Edwards Plateau ecological area. Land use is predominantly ranching in the upper reservoir, with residential properties common in the lower reservoir. Aquatic vegetation has never bee documented in the reservoir.
Important sport fish include white bass, striped bass, largemouth bass, and catfish species. The management plans for 2003 were to re-establish a once popular striped bass fishery by restocking hatchery-raised fish; and secondly, work with fishing clubs to reduce tournament-caught largemouth bass mortality. The Florida subspecies of largemouth bass was stocked in the reservoir in the late '80s to increase Florida largemouth bass genetic influence in the population. Blue and channel catfish were stocked in the '70s to help establish a sustainable population. White bass were managed under an experimental 12-inch minimum length limit. The regulation was rescinded in 2002 after analysis indicated environmental factors, not angler harvest, were probably more influential in determining white bass population density.
- Prey species: Gizzard shad, bluegill, and redbreast sunfish were the predominant sources of forage. Threadfin shad were also available.
- Catfishes: Blue catfish was the dominant species present. Channel and flathead catfish were also present in low densities. Previous creel surveys indicated directed effort towards catfish in general was low.
- Temperate basses: White bass abundance improved in 2007, rebounding from low sampling catch rates during previous surveys. Striped bass were present in low densities, but gill net catch improved after three stockings (2002, 2005, 2006).
- Black basses: Largemouth bass were abundant, with the population size structure dominated by individuals within the 10- to 12-inch range. Largemouth bass growth in 2006 remained similar to the last survey in 2002. Lake Travis also contains Guadalupe bass. Some Guadalupe bass in the 12- to 15-inch range are available.
The reservoir should continue to be managed with existing fishing regulations. Striped bass should continue to be stocked in efforts to re-establish the once popular fishery. Florida largemouth bass should be stocked to increase genetic influence, pending on reservoir flood status. Routine gill netting and electrofishing surveys should be conducted in 2010 – 2011, with an additional gill netting survey in spring 2009.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-32 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program