Lake Corpus Christi - 2014 Survey Report
Prepared by Greg Binion and John Findeisen
Inland Fisheries Division - Corpus Christi District
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 Corpus Christi were surveyed in 2014 using hoop nets, electrofishing and trap netting and in 2015 using gill netting. Anglers were surveyed from June 2014 through May 2015 with a creel survey. Historical data are presented with the 2014-2015 data for comparison. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake Corpus Christi is an 18,256 acre impoundment located on the Nueces River approximately 20 miles northwest of Corpus Christi, Texas. The reservoir was built by the Lower Nueces Water Supply District in 1958 to provide water for the city of Corpus Christi and other coastal bend communities. Boat access is correlated with water level. Shoreline and handicap access are limited to a few public areas around the lake. Water is typically turbid, but clears during summer in the lower reservoir and small creek arms. The substrate is composed primarily of silt, sand, clay, and some gravel/rock. Littoral habitat consisted of flooded live and dead terrestrial vegetation, standing timber, and seasonally abundant water hyacinth.
Important sport fish species include Blue and Channel catfish, White Bass, Largemouth Bass, Alligator Gar, and White and Black crappie. Recent management efforts focused on increasing FLMB introgression through stockings in 2014 and 2015, compiling baseline catch and harvest statistics on important sport fish species, and evaluating the use of baited tandem hoop nets as a sampling gear for Channel Catfish. Further, staff monitored expansion of nuisance vegetation during routine fisheries surveys and with a vegetation survey conducted in 2014. No vegetation control activities were needed during the survey period. Angler harvest of all sport fishes has been regulated according to statewide size and bag limits.
- Prey species: Gizzard and Threadfin shad formed the reservoirs forage base. Bluegill provided additional forage for sport fish. Population size structure of prey species was suitable to support sport fish populations.
- Catfishes: Although Channel Catfish were present, the catfish community was dominated by Blue Catfish. Blue Catfish size structure comprised a wide size-range of fish. Several quality-sized Blue Catfish were collected. Directed fishing effort for catfishes was high.
- White Bass: White Bass relative abundance increased substantially since previous surveys in 2012 and 2014. The majority of fish collected were available to anglers for harvest.
- Largemouth Bass: Largemouth Bass abundance has steadily increased since 2008. Few fish above legal size limit were collected during the 2014 electrofishing survey. Body condition was excellent and fish attained legal size (14 inches) in 1.0 years.
- Crappie: White and Black crappie continued to be present in the reservoir; however, few legal size fish were collected.
- Continue to manage sport fish under existing regulations.
- Request Florida Largemouth Bass stocking to enhance production of large fish (≥ 8 pounds) in the population.
- Conduct creel survey to collect fisheries dependent data (i.e., angler effort, catch, and harvest).
- Evaluate use of baited tandem hoop nets for collection of Channel Catfish.
- Monitor expansion of nuisance vegetation.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-5 Inland Fisheries Division Monitoring and Management Program