Aquilla Reservoir - 2010 Survey Report
Prepared by John Tibbs and Michael S. Baird
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-B, Waco, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 23-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Aquilla Reservoir were surveyed in 2010 using an electrofisher and trap nets and in 2011 using gill nets. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Aquilla Reservoir is a 2,366-acre impoundment supplied by Hackberry and Aquilla Creeks within the Brazos River Basin, Hill County. The reservoir was created in 1982 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers for municipal water supply and flood control. Aquilla is moderately productive, with water clarity ranging from 2 to 4 feet. Fish habitat at time of sampling consisted primarily of natural shoreline. Improved bank and boat access on the reservoir was good, but limited handicap-specific facilities were available.
Important sport fish included largemouth bass, white bass, white crappie, and catfishes. The management plan from 2003 included an evaluation of the largemouth bass genetic composition, which was completed in 2006. A creel survey was conducted in fall 2006 and spring 2007; those data were included in the 2007 survey report. Several articles have been written to publicize Aquilla’s fishery including an article in the Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine on jug lining for blue catfish in May 2007 and a news release titled “Fishing Lake Aquilla” published in local newspaper in August 2010. Exotic vegetation surveys were conducted annually to monitor hydrilla.
- Prey species: Threadfin and gizzard shad catch rates were similar to historical averages. Other forage species included bluegill, longear sunfish, green sunfish, and warmouth. Larger-sized sunfishes were not collected.
- Catfishes: Blue and channel catfish catch rates were higher than historical averages. Blue catfish had excellent body condition and many approached the preferred length of 30-inches or more. Channel catfish conditions were variable ranging from poor to excellent. Aquilla anglers spend nearly 33% of their time targeting catfish species.
- White bass: The white bass population was stable, yet catch rates were below historical averages. Body conditions were excellent. Aquilla anglers spend less than 2% of their time targeting white bass.
- Largemouth bass: The largemouth bass catch rate was the lowest it’s been in three surveys, yet body conditions remained good. Largemouth bass start reaching the minimum length limit of 18 inches by age three indicating good growth. Aquilla anglers spend nearly 16% of their time targeting largemouth bass.
- White crappie: White crappie were collected at historically high rates, and body condition was excellent. Aquilla anglers spend nearly 19% of their time targeting white crappie.
- Propose changing the largemouth bass 18-inch minimum length limit back to the statewide 14-inch minimum length limit. Continue managing other species at Aquilla with existing regulations.
- Conduct general monitoring with electrofisher and trap nets in 2014 and gill nets in 2015.
- Survey exotic aquatic vegetation annually over the next 4 years.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-1 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program