Buffalo Creek Reservoir - 2006 Survey Report
Prepared by Mark Howell and Robert Mauk
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-E, Wichita Falls, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 24-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Buffalo Creek Reservoir were surveyed in 2006 using trap nets and electrofishing and in 2007 using gill nets. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Buffalo Creek Reservoir is a 1,577-acre impoundment located on the North Fork of Buffalo Creek in the Red River Basin approximately 20 miles west of Wichita Falls. It has a primarily rocky shoreline with periodically flooded terrestrial habitat. The reservoir was at least 13 feet below conservation pool (1,048 msl) from January of 2003 through May 2007 (Figure 1) at times as much as 23 feet low. Buffalo Creek water clarity is turbid at times.
Historically important sport fish include largemouth bass, white crappie, and catfish. In 2005 and 2006, northern largemouth bass fingerlings were stocked at the rate of 100 per acre based on estimated reservoir size at time of stocking. Channel catfish were stocked in 2005. The stockings were in response to extended periods of low water in previous years that adversely impacted fish populations. Buffalo Creek has always been managed with statewide regulations.
- Prey species: The gizzard shad catch rate was extremely high and more than double the historical record rate. The index of vulnerability (IOV) was also very high indicating forage for game fish was plentiful. The catch per unit of effort (CPUE) for bluegill and other sunfishes was relatively low except for green sunfish.
- Catfishes: Blue catfish CPUE has remained constant since the last gill net survey in 2003. Channel catfish CPUE has greatly increased and was probably helped by the 2005 supplemental stocking. Flathead catfish CPUE was down slightly compared to the last two surveys but size structure was improved. All species of catfish had above average body condition. Compared to other district reservoirs, the Buffalo Creek channel and flathead catfish catch rates were the highest. Appendix C shows the impressive 2007 catch rate and size structure for all catfish species combined.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass had the highest electrofishing catch rate ever recorded for the reservoir, with many bass sampled over the minimum length size limit. Body condition was excellent, especially for legal sized fish.
- White crappie: The catch rate greatly improved from the 2005 trap net survey because of a large 2006 year class that developed in response to the increase in water elevation. The CPUE was the highest ever recorded in district history, but the crappie were all below the 10-inch length limit.
Conduct general monitoring with trap netting, gill netting, and electrofishing surveys in 2010-2011.
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