Cedar Creek Reservoir - 2003 Survey Report
Prepared by Timothy J. Bister and Richard A. Ott, Jr.
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-C, Tyler, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 40-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
The Cedar Creek Reservoir fishery was surveyed during the period June 2003 to May 2004 using electrofishing, trap nets, gill nets, roving angler creel survey, littoral zone habitat and vegetation surveys, and an angler access and facilities survey. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Cedar Creek Reservoir is a 32,623-acre reservoir on Cedar Creek, Texas, a tributary of the Trinity River. The impoundment was constructed by the Tarrant Regional Water District in 1965 to provide water for municipal and industrial use. Boat access is adequate, but bank angler access is limited because the majority of the lakeshore is privately owned. There are no handicap-specific facilities. The habitat and aquatic vegetation survey, which was conducted when the lake was 1.6 feet below conservation pool, indicated poor habitat. Less than 1% of the reservoir contained aquatic vegetation and 60% of the shoreline consisted of bulkhead. Trace amounts of hydrilla (0.15 acres) and waterhyacinth (unknown quantity) were observed during the survey year.
- Prey species: Electrofishing catch rate of gizzard shad was lower in 2003 (152 fish/hour) than in previous years (1999 = 340 fish/hour; 1996 = 202 fish/hour). A reduction in the number of fish < 5 inches accounted for most of the decrease. Therefore, fewer gizzard shad were available to predators in the reservoir than in past years. Electrofishing catch rate of threadfin shad was high (>1,200 fish/hour), and all were available to the majority of predators in the lake because of their small size. Sunfish (i.e., bluegill and redear sunfish) also contribute to the prey fish population; however, their abundance has been limited likely due to poor littoral habitat.
- Catfishes: The catfish population of Cedar Creek was dominated by blue catfish. The majority of the blue catfish collected in gill nets were of legal size (>12 inches). Alternatively, the channel catfish population was composed primarily of fish below legal size. Gill net catch rate of stock-size blue catfish in 2004 (11.3 fish/net night) was similar to 2002 (10.9 fish/net night) and 1999 (11.3 fish/net night). Age-and-growth analysis was not conducted as part of the 2004 assessment. Previous analysis (Bonds and Ott 1999) indicated that growth was slow for both blue and channel catfish with fish reaching legal size at age 5 or 6. However, total annual mortality for blue catfish was relatively low (i.e., fish >age 10 have consistently been collected in past surveys). Prey availability for blue catfish was adequate as mean Wr for most inch classes was >85 and showed no decreasing trend with increased length. The catfish fishery at Cedar Creek accounted for over 30% of the fishing effort (second only to largemouth bass effort) estimated by an angler creel survey conducted from June 1, 2003 to May 31, 2004. Angling catch rate of catfish was 1.64 fish/hour and harvest rate was 1.04 fish/hour, with blue catfish accounting for most of the total catfish catch.
- Temperate basses: The white bass population of Cedar Creek is moderately abundant, has a fast growth rate, and provides a high quality fishery. Gill net catch rate of white bass was lower in 2004 (2.8 fish/net night) than in previous years (range 5.1 to 5.7 fish/net night). A palmetto bass population that has developed into a popular fishery compliments this fishery. Fewer legal-sized palmetto bass were collected during 2004 (0.3 fish/net night) than in 2002 (2.2 fish/net night). However, survival of recently stocked fingerlings (2003) was good and should contribute to the population. Angling effort for morone species accounted for about 5% of all angling effort from June 1, 2003 to May 31, 2004. Angling catch rate of morone species combined was 1.78 fish/hour and harvest rate was 0.44 fish/hour. The total estimated number of morone species caught, excluding yellow bass, was 72,410 fish.
- Sunfishes: The sunfish populations in Cedar Creek Reservoir consist primarily of bluegill and redear sunfish. These populations are limited due to the sparse amount of aquatic vegetation in the lake, which was <1% of the total surface area. Most of the sunfish collected were <5 inches in total length and they likely contribute little to the reservoir's recreational fishery because of their small average size. Directed effort for sunfish estimated from the angler creel survey conducted June 1, 2003 to May 31, 2004 was only 0.06 hours/acre. No harvest of sunfish was documented by anglers targeting this species group.
- Black basses: The largemouth bass population continues to provide good quality fishing and tournament pressure despite minimal quality centrachid habitat (i.e., limited aquatic vegetation). Largemouth bass were the most sought after species (angling effort = 3.15 hours/acre; 35% of total effort) from June 1, 2003 to May 31, 2004. Angling catch rate of largemouth bass was 0.77 fish/hour. Recruitment of largemouth bass has remained consistent and electrofishing catch rate (41.5 fish/hour) was similar to previous surveys. Fish reach legal size during their fourth year of life and mean Wr for most inch classes was >90. However, relatively few fish were sampled older than age 2. Of the 30 age-0 fish collected for electrophoretic analysis, 35.3% contained Florida largemouth bass (FLMB) alleles but none were pure FLMB. Because Cedar Creek Reservoir has had a history of producing trophy-sized largemouth bass, stocking of FLMB is scheduled for 2004 and 2005 to increase the percentage of pure FLMB fish in the population.
- Crappie: Both black and white crappie are found in Cedar Creek; however, black crappies have been the dominant species in the last two surveys. Fish reach the minimum length limit (10 inches) in approximately two to three growing seasons. Trap net catch rate of black crappie was much lower in 2003 (2.1 fish/net night) than in 1999 (13.5 fish/net night). However, angling catch rates were good (1.41 fish/hour). Angling effort for crappie (1.62 hours/acre) accounted for 18% of angling effort from June 1, 2003 to May 31, 2004.
Based on current information, Cedar Creek Reservoir fishing regulations should be maintained at their current status. Annual stockings of palmetto bass should be continued because past efforts have established a popular fishery. Stocking of Florida largemouth bass is scheduled for 2004 and 2005 and should be completed with every effort made to ensure stocking survival. Largemouth bass allele frequency should be re-evaluated in 2007 to assess stocking effectiveness and to determine the necessity of future stocking. Due to the importance of the morone species and catfish fisheries at Cedar Creek, additional optional-year gill netting should be conducted during spring 2006 to monitor these populations. As techniques are developed, habitat improvement should be conducted. Because hydrilla and water hyacinth are invasive, non-native aquatic macrophytes, steps should be taken to control these potentially problematic plants. The Tarrant Regional Water District has been notified of their presence and we have advised that they develop a treatment plan.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-29 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program