Lake Fork - 2013 Survey Report
Prepared by Kevin W. Storey and Daniel L. Bennett
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-B, Tyler, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 42-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Lake Fork were surveyed in 2012 and 2013 using electrofishing, and in 2014 using gill netting and electrofishing. A vegetation survey was conducted in August 2013. Anglers were surveyed with an access point creel survey from June 2012 to May 2013. Historical data are presented with the 2012-2014 data for comparison. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake Fork is a 27,264-acre impoundment located on Lake Fork Creek, a tributary of the Sabine River, approximately five miles northwest of Quitman, Texas and approximately 70 miles east of Dallas, Texas.
Important sport fishes include Largemouth Bass, crappies (White and Black), and Channel Catfish. The management plan from the 2012 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 access creel survey. The Lake Fork Trophy Bass Survey was completed in May 2013. Water hyacinth abundance and distribution has been monitored through annual vegetation surveys although low reservoir water elevations through 2014 limited the spread of the plant and also made chemical treatment impractical.
- Prey species: Abundant shad (Threadfin and Gizzard) and sunfish populations provided the basis for prey populations for Largemouth Bass and crappies. The majority of shad and sunfish species were available as prey for adult Largemouth Bass.
- Catfishes: Catfishes have historically accounted for the third highest angler effort at Lake Fork. Although Flathead Catfish, Blue Catfish, and Yellow Bullheads are also present, Channel Catfish was the only species encountered in gill net sampling and in creel surveys. The majority of Channel Catfish collected in gill nets were large enough to be legally retained.
- Temperate basses: White Bass, Yellow Bass, White x Yellow Bass hybrids, and Palmetto Bass were all present in the reservoir. The White Bass population has become more abundant as evidenced by increases in gill net catches, harvest in creel surveys, and limited directed fishing effort. Yellow Bass harvest was also observed during creel surveys.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth Bass are the most popular game fish in Lake Fork, accounting for the majority of total angler effort in the last seven survey years. Catch rates in fall and spring samples have varied as reservoir elevation and available habitat have changed.
- Crappie: Directed angler effort for crappies was second in importance of total directed effort. More White Crappie were harvested than Black Crappie in creel surveys between June 2012 and May 2013. Anglers harvested more crappies in the fall quarter (September – November) than at any other time.
Annual actions include: stocking FLMB; spring and fall electrofishing for Largemouth Bass population assessment; an access point creel survey to monitor angler effort, catch, and harvest rates; annual vegetation surveys of water hyacinth distribution and abundance. In addition, the water hyacinth management plan will be used to guide treatment activities.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-4 Inland Fisheries Division Monitoring and Management Program