Lake Whitney - 2011 Survey Report
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Prepared by John Tibbs and Michael S. Baird
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-B, Waco, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 24-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Whitney Reservoir were surveyed in 2011 using an electrofisher and in 2012 using gill nets. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Whitney Reservoir is a 23,200-acre impoundment of the Brazos River, in Bosque and Hill Counties. Water levels were 15 feet below conservation pool (533) during 2011 electrofisher surveys and full pool during 2012 gill net surveys. Fish habitat at the time of sampling was dominated by natural, rock, and bluff shorelines. Boat access (14 ramps) on the reservoir is excellent, but there are currently no handicap-specific facilities.
Important sport fish include striped bass, white bass, largemouth bass, white crappie, and catfish. All have been affected by nearly annual, toxic golden alga blooms since 2001. Efforts to mitigate these losses have included collection of biannual fisheries data, annual striped bass stockings, and smallmouth bass stocking requests. The management plan from the 2007 survey report included continuing all associated golden alga work, performing a tier IV age and growth sample on largemouth bass, requesting smallmouth bass stockings annually, and conducting vegetation/habitat surveys during summer 2011.
- Prey species: Threadfin and gizzard shad were collected near historical average rates. Other forage species included bluegill, redear sunfish, longear sunfish, warmouth, and green sunfish.
- Catfishes: Blue catfish were collected at high rates whereas channel catfish were collected below historical averages. Body condition was average.
- Temperate basses: White and striped bass were collected at rates similar to their historical averages. Body condition was fair for white bass and good for striped bass.
- Black basses: Largemouth bass catch rates were above the historical average. Although the size structure indicated a balanced population, few legal-sized fish were observed in the sample. Condition was generally good.
- Crappie: Crappie were not surveyed with trap nets in 2011.
Continue managing Whitney Reservoir with statewide regulations, and continue annual stocking requests for smallmouth bass and striped bass. Conduct standard electrofisher and gill net sampling in fall 2015 and spring 2016 respectively, and supplemental gill net sampling in spring 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