Lake Fork - 2005 Survey Report
Prepared by Kevin W. Storey and Aaron K. Jubar
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-B, Tyler, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 48-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Lake Fork Reservoir were surveyed in 2005 using electrofishing, trap netting, and gill netting and in 2006 using electrofishing, gill netting and trap netting. Anglers were surveyed from June 2005 to May 2006 with an access point creel survey. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake Fork Reservoir is a 27,264-acre impoundment located on Lake Fork Creek, a tributary of the Sabine River, approximately 5 miles northwest of Quitman, Texas. Water levels reached an historic low level of 4.2 feet below conservation pool elevation during January 2006 as a result of a prolonged drought. Total coverage of hydrilla in summer 2005 accounted for 4.8% of the lake surface area, down from 13.4% in 2004.
Important sport fishes include largemouth bass, crappie (white and black), and channel catfish. The management plan from the 2004 survey report included continued stocking of Florida largemouth bass (FLMB). The 16-to 24-inch slot-length limit continues to be evaluated through annual electrofishing surveys, and an annual access creel survey. District staff continue to promote the Lake Fork Trophy Bass Survey. Waterhyacinth abundance and distribution is monitored through annual vegetation surveys and recommendations are made to the Aquatic Habitat Enhancement staff to continue annual spraying to control its spread.
- Prey species: Lake Fork contains abundant clupeid and sunfish populations. Gizzard shad size structure remains consistent and the majority of fish are available as prey for adult largemouth bass. Threadfin shad are also present providing prey population for bass and crappie. The majority of bluegill and redear sunfish collected in 2005 were less than 4 inches in length, making them available prey for most size classes of bass.
- Catfishes: The channel catfish population continues to increase in abundance and the quality of the fishery continues to be good. Blue and flathead catfish are also present in the reservoir but they are much less common than channel catfish.
- Temperate basses: White bass, yellow bass and white x yellow bass hybrids are all present in the reservoir. There is a limited fishery for yellow bass and anglers report occasional catches of white bass. White x yellow bass hybrids are periodically caught and submitted as world record yellow bass, but after genetic testing they are all identified as hybrids.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass continue to be the dominant game fish in Lake Fork receiving 81.6% of directed angler effort. Size distribution of the population remains consistent with previous years and relative weights continue to be high. Between three and four years of age largemouth bass grow into the protected 16-to 24-inch slot-length limit.
- Crappie: Crappie are the second most sought game fishes accounting for 12.8% of directed effort. Although black crappie have traditionally been dominant, white crappie may be increasing in abundance.
- Stock FLMB to enhance largemouth bass genetics.
- Continue to monitor the 16 to 24 inch slot length limit.
- Conduct annual vegetation surveys of waterhyacinth and recommend chemical control as needed.
- Continue to promote the Lake Fork Trophy Bass Survey.
- Conduct electrofishing surveys in fall 2006 and spring 2007, and continue annual access point creel survey.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-31 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program