Buchanan Reservoir - 2015 Survey Report
Prepared by Marcos J. De Jesus and Mukhtar Farooqi
Inland Fisheries Division – San Marcos District
This is the authors' summary from a 51-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Buchanan Reservoir were surveyed in 2015 using electrofishing and in 2016 using gill netting. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a fisheries management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Buchanan Reservoir 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, Sunshine Bass, Largemouth Bass, and catfish species. The management plan for 2011 included continuing annual stockings of Striped Bass, monitoring the Striped Bass population with additional gill netting, and permitting the stocking of Sunshine Bass by the Lake Buchanan Reservoir Conservation Corporation (LBCC). Striped Bass have been stocked almost annually since 1977, and the reservoir is regarded as one of the best Striped Bass fisheries in Texas. Sunshine Bass have been stocked annually since 2006 by the LBCC. The Florida subspecies of Largemouth Bass was stocked in the reservoir in the late 1970’s and once again in 2008 and 2015 to increase Florida Largemouth Bass genetic influence in the population. Blue Catfish were stocked in 1989 and 1990 to help establish a naturally-reproducing 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 The regulation was rescinded after analysis indicated environmental factors, not angler harvest, were probably more influential in determining White Bass population density.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, Threadfin Shad, Redbreast Sunfish and Bluegill were the predominant sources of forage.
- Catfishes: Blue Catfish was the predominant catfish species present in our survey. Channel Catfish were present in lower abundance and smaller size structure than Blue Catfish. Flathead Catfish were present in low densities.
- Temperate basses: White Bass reproduced successfully, despite low water levels during a prolonged drought event impeding spring spawning runs. Striped Bass gill netting catches remained consistent from 2012 – 2015, but varied for Sunshine Bass during the same period. A new sampling approach in 2016 collected baseline catch rates for both species for future trend analyses.
- Black basses: Largemouth Bass catch decreased noticeably in 2015 compared to previous standard surveys; most likely a reflection of record-low water levels caused by a prolonged drought. Largemouth Bass growth remained similar to previous surveys. Guadalupe Bass were present in the reservoir.
- The reservoir should continue to be managed with existing fishing regulations.
- Combined Morone stocking rates will be modified to prevent forage competition and restore better growth. Gill netting should be conducted bi-annually to monitor Morone spp. abundance, growth and condition.
- Conduct general monitoring surveys with gill nets, and electrofishing surveys in 2019-2020, with a supplemental gill net survey in 2018 and a full-year creel survey in 2018/2019.
- Access, habitat and vegetation surveys will be conducted in 2019.
- Continue to cultivate invasive species awareness to prevent spread.
- Implanted habitat sites for cover-seeking species should be maintained or restored.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-6 Inland Fisheries Division Monitoring and Management Program