Buchanan Reservoir - 2007 Survey Report
Prepared by Stephan J. Magnelia and Marcos J. De Jesus
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-C, San Marcos, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 38-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Lake Buchanan were surveyed in 2007 using electrofishing and in 2008 using gill nets. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a fisheries management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake Buchanan is a 22,211-acre impoundment of the Colorado River located in Burnet and Llano counties. It was constructed in 1937 by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) for purposes of hydroelectric power, water supply, flood control, and recreation. The reservoir lies within the Edwards Plateau ecological area. Its drainage area is approximately 31,250 square miles. Shoreline length is approximately 140.6 miles. Only small amounts (<1 acre) of aquatic vegetation have ever been documented in the reservoir.
Important sport fish include white bass, striped bass, largemouth bass and catfish species. The management plans for 2003 were to: continue annual stockings of striped bass; monitor the striped bass population with additional gill netting; and permit the stocking of sunshine bass by the Lake Buchanan Conservation Corporation. Striped bass have been stocked almost annually since 1977, and the reservoir is regarded as one of the best striped bass fisheries in Texas. The Florida subspecies of largemouth bass was stocked in the reservoir in the late 1970’s to increase Florida largemouth bass genetic influence in the population. Blue catfish were stocked in 1989 and 1990 to help establish a sustainable population. White bass were managed under an experimental 12-inch minimum length limit from 1995 to 2003. The regulation was rescinded after analysis indicated environmental factors, not angler harvest, were probably more influential in determining white bass population density.
- Prey species: Gizzard shad, redbreast sunfish and bluegill were the predominant sources of forage. Threadfin shad were also available.
- Catfishes: Channel catfish was the dominant catfish species, but blue catfish abundance continues to increase. Flathead catfish were present in low densities.
- Temperate basses: White bass abundance improved in 2008. The gill net catch rate was the highest since 1997. Striped bass gill net catch improved slightly since the last survey, but was still below average. Stress due to high water temperature and low dissolved oxygen in the summer months may be causing decreased body condition and growth of striped bass. Sunshine bass from stockings in 2006 and 2007 were collected in the 2007 and 2008 gill net survey.
- Black basses: Largemouth bass were abundant. A strong year class was produced in 2007, probably the result of increased water elevation. Largemouth bass reach 14 inches by age-2.
The reservoir should continue to be managed with existing fishing regulations. Striped bass should continue to be stocked and the population monitored in an effort to maintain the popular fishery. Sunshine bass should continue to be annually stocked to build a fishery for this species. Gill netting should be conducted annually to monitor Morone sp. abundance.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-33 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program