Waco Reservoir - 2011 Survey Report
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Prepared by John E. Tibbs and Michael S. Baird
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-B, Waco, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 35-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Waco Reservoir were surveyed in 2011 using an electrofisher and trap nets and in 2012 using gill nets. Anglers were surveyed from June 2011 to May 2012 with a creel. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Waco Reservoir is an 8,465-acre impoundment supplied by the North, Middle, and South Bosque Rivers within the Brazos River Basin, McLennan County. Water levels were six feet below conservation pool (462) during 2011 electrofisher and trap net surveys and full pool during 2012 gill net surveys. Fish habitat at the time of sampling was dominated by natural, rock, and gravel shorelines. Bank and boat access (10 ramps) on the reservoir is good, but there are currently no handicap-specific facilities.
Important sport fish include largemouth bass, white bass, palmetto bass, white crappie, and catfish. The management plan from the 2007 survey report included annual monitoring of noxious vegetation, completing an exotic vegetation management plan, facilitating the placement and design of fishing piers with associated fish habitat structures, evaluating a trophy blue catfish slot limit regulation if implemented, and conducting a thorough habitat survey prior to the 2012 report.
- Prey species: Most major forage species were collected at rates above their historical average, with the exception of gizzard shad which were well below average. Most gizzard shad were available as prey for predators.
- Catfishes: Blue and channel catfish were collected in good numbers, and both species had good to excellent condition. Only a single flathead catfish was collected. Over 20% of all anglers at Waco Reservoir fished for some species of catfish.
- Temperate bass: White bass were sampled at historical high rates, and newly stocked Palmetto bass were also collected. Surprisingly, only a little over 3% of anglers at Waco Reservoir fished for white bass or hybrids. The spring spawn was disrupted by low, then high water, which had a lot to do with the reduction in anglers targeting those species.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass catch rate and body condition was average. Over 50% of all anglers at Waco Reservoir fished for largemouth bass.
- White crappie: White crappie were collected at below average rates; black crappie
- Continue managing Waco Reservoir with statewide regulations with the exception of the trophy blue catfish regulation.
- Conduct general monitoring with electrofisher and trap nets in 2015 and gill nets in 2016.
- Conduct supplemental monitoring with electrofisher and trap net surveys in 2013 and gill net surveys in 2014.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-2 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program