Aquilla Reservoir - 2014 Survey Report
Prepared by John Tibbs and Michael S. Baird
Inland Fisheries Division - Waco District
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 Aquilla Reservoir were surveyed in 2014 using electrofishing and trap netting and in 2015 using gill netting. Historical data are presented with the 2014-2015 data for comparison. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Aquilla Reservoir is a 3,066-acre impoundment supplied by Hackberry and Aquilla Creeks within the Brazos River Basin, Hill County. Water level has fluctuated from seven feet below to seven feet above conservation pool since January 2011, yet was typically about four feet low during this period. Aquilla is moderately productive, with water clarity ranging from two to four feet. Habitat features consisted mainly of natural shoreline.
Important sport fish include Largemouth Bass, White Bass, White Crappie, and Catfishes. Blue Catfish and Florida Largemouth Bass were stocked in the early to mid 1980s. An 18-inch minimum length limit was initiated on Largemouth Bass during 1994 to provide additional protection of brood stock, improve densities, and maximize the trophy potential of this population. The regulation was replaced with the statewide, 14-inch minimum length limit in 2012 based on un-changed population indices during the period, and a 2006 creel which showed continued under-sized harvest for the species. Hydrilla was discovered in 2004 and monitored annually from 2004 through 2013. Recent efforts to mitigate the loss of important fish habitat from sedimentation and loss of reservoir volume have included native vegetation plantings and fish attractors in appropriate areas.
- Prey species: Threadfin and Gizzard Shad catch rates were above historical averages. Other forage species included Bluegill, Longear Sunfish, Green Sunfish, and Warmouth. Larger-sized sunfishes were not observed.
- Catfishes: The Blue Catfish catch rate was higher than historical averages while the Channel Catfish catch rate was similar to historical averages. Individuals of both species were in good to excellent body condition.
- White Bass: The White Bass catch rate was higher than the historical average and body condition was good.
- Largemouth Bass: The Largemouth Bass catch rate was the highest on record and body conditions remained good. Recent recruitment appeared to be excellent.
- White Crappie: White Crappie were collected at historically high rates, and body condition was average.
- Manage sport fishes at Aquilla with statewide regulations.
- Maintain invasive species signage at boat ramps and inform the public about the negative impacts of aquatic invasive species when presenting to Aquilla user groups.
- Conduct access and vegetation surveys during summer 2018, and general monitoring surveys with trap nets, gill nets, and electrofishing surveys in 2018-2019.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-5 Inland Fisheries Division Monitoring and Management Program