Belton Reservoir - 2006 Survey Report
Prepared by Michael S. Baird and John Tibbs
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-B, Waco, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 37-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Belton Reservoir was surveyed in fall 2006 using a boat electrofisher, winter of 2006 with trap nets, and spring 2007 using gill nets. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Belton Reservoir is a 12,385-acre impoundment located in Bell County, Texas. Mean and maximum water depths are 37 and 124 feet respectively, and the reservoir is classified as mesotrophic with secchi disk readings around 6 feet. Habitat features consisted mainly of bluffs, rocky shoreline, sandy beaches, and some standing timber.
Important sport fish include white bass, palmetto bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white crappie, blue catfish, and channel catfish. The first and only creel survey for Belton was conducted from March 2003 through February 2004; these data are included in this report. The 2000 management plan documented low prey availability and recommended reducing palmetto bass stockings. In 2002, the management plan reduced the stocking rate of palmetto bass to 8 fish/acre. The reduced stocking rate will be re-evaluated in this report also.
- Prey species: Threadfin shad are present in the reservoir in low numbers. Electrofishing catch of gizzard shad was low and few were available as prey to sport fish (i.e., IOV =51). Electrofishing catch of bluegill was high, but few were over 6 inches in length. Longear, redear, warmouth, and green sunfish also contributed to the forage base.
- Catfishes: The blue and channel catfish populations continue to grow slowly, and both hold fish in the quality size range for anglers. Flathead catfish were present in good numbers. Nearly one-fourth of all anglers fished for catfish.
- Temperate basses: White bass and palmetto bass were well represented in the survey, and populations consist mainly of legal-sized individuals. Palmetto bass were typically in good condition, whereas white bass condition dropped steadily after reaching legal size. Less than 10% of anglers creeled were fishing for white and palmetto bass combined.
- Black basses: Smallmouth bass catch rates have held steady and fair numbers of legal-size fish exist. Natural recruitment is occurring consistently. Largemouth bass catch rates were low, size structure remained good, and there are fair numbers of legal-sized fish in the population. Spotted bass were not collected during this survey. Nearly one-half of all angler effort at Belton was spent fishing for black bass.
- White crappie: Catch rates of white crappie remain low, but size distribution is good. A few legal-sized crappies are available in the population for harvest. Nine percent of all angler hours were spent fishing for crappies.
- Conduct general monitoring with trap nets, gill nets, and electrofishing surveys in 2010-2011.
- Monitor aquatic vegetation and extent of fishery/shoreline habitat with surveys in 2009/2010.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-32 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program