Lake Arrowhead - 2011 Survey Report
Prepared by Robert Mauk
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-E, Wichita Falls, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 27-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Arrowhead Reservoir were surveyed in 2011 using trap nets and electrofishing 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.
Arrowhead Reservoir is a 14,969-acre impoundment located on the Little Wichita River in Archer and Clay counties approximately 15 miles southeast of Wichita Falls. At time of sampling, the water elevation was 6.5 feet below full capacity with the shoreline habitat consisting mainly of natural and rocky shoreline. The dam is located in Clay County and the reservoir is owned and operated by the City of Wichita Falls as a municipal and industrial water supply. Arrowhead has a shoreline length of 106 miles and a drainage basin of 832 square miles. Boat access is normally good with six improved public ramp sites around the reservoir. Public access includes 524-acre Lake Arrowhead State Park located on the northwest side near the dam. Bank access is adequate, but the only improved handicapped access is at the state park. Some standing timber remains in the upper reservoir and backs of coves.
Important sport fish include catfish, white bass, largemouth bass, and white crappie. Arrowhead is managed under statewide regulations.
- Prey species: Gizzard shad electrofishing catch rate was the highest ever recorded for the reservoir and were in the size range consumed by predators. The catch per unit effort (CPUE) for bluegill was average.
- Catfishes: During the 2012 gill net survey, blue catfish had a higher gill net CPUE than channel catfish. In fact, the 2012 blue catfish CPUE was higher than it had ever been at Arrowhead. The gill net survey for channel catfish showed an increase in relative abundance from the previous two surveys, especially for sub-legal fish. Flathead catfish persist in the reservoir.
- White bass: White bass gill net survey CPUE was low compared to previous surveys but was probably more a function of the timing of the sampling as opposed to an actual decline in abundance.
- Largemouth bass: The 2011 electrofishing survey for largemouth bass had a below average catch rate due to low reservoir elevations that affected the recruitment of the 2011 year class and decreased shoreline habitat quality. Bass were sampled in good numbers anytime rocky habitat was encountered. The number of legal length bass remained high for the reservoir and their body condition was good.
- White crappie: The 2011 trap net survey CPUE was lower than the two previous trap net surveys. Low water elevations and the associated lack of shoreline habitat at time of survey probably influenced the results by indicating that the crappie abundance is lower than it actually is, especially when comparing the results to angler reports. Legal length crappie were all above average in body condition.
Populations of catfish are in good shape and should be widely promoted for anglers to enjoy. Largemouth bass relative abundance is down, especially younger, smaller bass, so request a largemouth bass stocking contingent upon a significant increase in the reservoir elevation which will result in improved habitat conditions.
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