Cooper Reservoir - 2015 Survey Report
Prepared by Kevin W. Storey
Inland Fisheries Division – Tyler North District
This is the authors' summary from a 26-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Cooper Reservoir were surveyed using electrofishing and trap netting in 2015 and gill netting in 2016. An aquatic vegetation survey was conducted in summer 2015. Historical data are presented with the 2015-2016 data for comparison. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Cooper Reservoir is located in Delta and Hopkins Counties, Texas, on the Middle and South Forks of the Sulphur River. It was constructed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers for water supply and flood control. Within the past two years, reservoir elevation has increased from a minimum of 12.6 ft. below conservation pool elevation (cpe) in December 2014 to a level six feet above cpe, 12 months later. This event caused flooding in the Doctor’s Creek and South Sulphur Units of Cooper Lake State Park. In 2016 elevation has remained above cpe.
Important sport fishes at Cooper Reservoir include Hybrid Striped Bass (Palmetto Bass and Sunshine Bass combined), White Bass, Blue Catfish, Channel Catfish, Largemouth Bass and White Crappie. Annual requests are made to stock Hybrid Striped Bass (Palmetto Bass and/or Sunshine Bass) at a rate of 10/acre.
- Prey species: No assessments were made of prey fish populations on Cooper Reservoir but body condition of game fish populations was good indicating adequate availability of prey species.
- Catfishes: Cooper Reservoir continued to sustain a quality population of Blue Catfish and a less abundant population of Channel Catfish. Sub-stock sized fish of both species were collected, indicating successful reproduction. Harvestable-size Blue Catfish occurred in high numbers and exhibited good body condition.
- Temperate basses: Ample open water habitat and a sufficient prey base allow Cooper Reservoir to support populations of White Bass and Hybrid Striped Bass (Palmetto Bass and Sunshine Bass combined). Cooper Reservoir has received annual stockings of Hybrid Striped Bass since 2002 with the exception of 2010 and 2012.
- Largemouth Bass: Largemouth Bass abundance has historically been limited, indicating low population density. The length frequency distribution of fish collected in 2015 was dominated by fish smaller than stock size (8 inches) and no legally-retainable fish were sampled.
- Crappie: White Crappie were the only species collected in 2015 and the sample was dominated by fish less than 5-inches in length. Few legal fish were collected in sampling.
- Annual stockings of Hybrid Striped Bass (Palmetto Bass and/or Sunshine Bass) should continue at a rate of 10/acre to maintain the fishery.
- General monitoring with trap netting, and gill netting surveys will be repeated in 2019-2020.
- Aquatic vegetation and access surveys will be conducted in 2019.
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