Abilene Reservoir - 2011 Survey Report
Prepared by Spencer Dumont
Inland Fisheries Division
District 1-B, Abilene, 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 Abilene Reservoir were surveyed in 2011 using electrofishing and trap nets and in 2012 using gill nets. This report summarizes survey results and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Abilene Reservoir is a 640-acre impoundment constructed on Elm Creek in the Brazos River Basin approximately 18 miles south of Abilene, Texas. The reservoir was primarily used for recreation. Beginning in 2005, operation and control of the reservoir was transferred from the city of Abilene to Abilene State Park. From 1997 through 2001 water level declined to a record low with only five acre-feet remaining. Large rain events filled or nearly filled the reservoir in 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2010. Each rain event was followed by a steady decline in water level. Water level was 8 to 11 feet below conservation pool at time of sampling in 2011 and 2012, and littoral habitat consisted primarily of dead brush. Two boat ramps were present; one was available only when the reservoir was full and the other when the water level was less than 10-feet low. Boat access was limited to small boats launching off a stretch of shoreline near the dam when the reservoir was more than 10-feet low. Water had a red-clay color with visibility less than 10 inches.
Stockings of blue catfish, channel catfish, and northern largemouth bass occurred following the 1998-2001 drought. Florida largemouth bass were stocked in 2009. Blue and channel catfish harvest regulations changed in 2005, when Abilene State Park took control of the reservoir, to a no minimum length limit and a five fish daily bag limit, in any combination. Also, fishing is restricted to pole and line only.
- Prey species: Gizzard shad were abundant and small. Bluegill and threadfin shad were present in low abundance.
- Catfishes: Few blue catfish were collected, but their size (15-24 inches long) should interest anglers. Channel catfish numbers increased compared to previous years, and 22% of those collected were at least 12 inches long.
- Largemouth bass: Numbers and size distribution of largemouth bass were excellent and should support above average fishing opportunities.
- White crappie: Abundance of white crappie was high, but only one in every six white crappie was legal size (at least 10 inches long). Growth of crappie was poor (a 10 in crappie was 3 to 6 years old), but some large crappie (up to 15 inches long and over two pounds) were available to anglers.
Discuss boat ramp and parking improvements with Abilene State Park staff. Educate the public about negative impacts of invasive species and how to prevent their spread. Conduct electrofishing and trap-net surveys biennially and gill-net surveys every four years.
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