Wichita Reservoir - 2008 Survey Report
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Prepared by Mark Howell and Robert Mauk
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-E, Wichita Falls, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 30-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Wichita Reservoir were surveyed in 2008 using dual-cod trap nets and electrofisher and in 2009 using gill nets. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a reservoir management plan based on those findings.
Wichita Reservoir is a 1,224-acre municipal reservoir owned and operated by the City of Wichita Falls for flood control and recreation. The dam and most of the reservoir is in Wichita County and the southern portion is in Archer County. The reservoir was built in 1901, impounding Holliday Creek, a tributary to the Wichita River. Mean depth is 4.5 feet and maximum depth is 9.5 feet. Angler and boat access is adequate when reservoir elevation is within 1 foot of conservation pool. Habitat includes large stands of native emergent vegetation. In March of 2004 a toxic golden alga event killed approximately 7,700 fish of which 93% were non-game fish. In March of 2007 another event occurred with an estimated 15,000 fish dying, almost all were non-game species. In February of 2009 a golden alga event killed an estimated 201,000 fish, severely impacting certain species populations.
Historically important sport fish include channel catfish, white and palmetto bass, and white crappie. The 2005 management plan recommended continuing habitat improvement projects including maintaining existing cypress trees, introduction of water willow Dianthera americana, and placement of brush piles near the dam which were all completed. Palmetto bass fingerlings were stocked every year at the rate of 15 fingerlings per acre. Northern largemouth bass fingerlings were stocked at 50 per acre in 2005 and 2006.
- Prey species: The gizzard shad electrofishing catch rate was near the historical average for the reservoir, but the population included many fish too big for most predators to consume. The CPUE for bluegill was the highest since 1997. Sizes of bluegill ranged from 3 to 7 inches. After the February 2009 golden alga fish kill, no gizzard shad were found in a gill net survey or in a spring electrofishing survey that also showed few sunfish.
- Catfishes: Channel catfish abundance decreased slightly since the 2007 survey indicating they survived the golden alga fish kill relatively unaffected. A length range of 13-25 inches was sampled in May 2009. Flathead catfish have historically been present in the reservoir but were not sampled during the 2009 gill net survey.
- White bass:White bass have not been sampled in the last two gill net surveys. This absence is possibly caused by poor recruitment from lack of suitable spawning habitat.
- Palmetto bass: No palmetto bass were sampled in 2009 after the February golden alga fish kill which included many palmetto bass mortalities.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass had the highest electrofishing catch rate recorded since the reservoir’s elevation was lowered in 1995 but was still far below district averages. Only three bass were sampled compared to one bass sampled in the last three surveys combined.
- White crappie: The dual-cod trap net catch rate of white crappie decreased from a similar survey completed in 2007. This reduction is largely caused by the lack of young of the year crappie sampled in 2008 which indicates poor reproduction/recruitment.
Conduct additional monitoring using dual-cod trap (2009), gill nets and spring electrofishing (2010). Stock threadfin shad and bluegill to build the prey base during 2009, along with fingerling largemouth bass.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-34 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program