Fort Parker Reservoir - 2014 Survey Report
Prepared by John Tibbs and Michael S. Baird
Inland Fisheries Division - Waco 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 Fort Parker Reservoir were surveyed in 2014 using electrofishing and trap netting and in 2015 using gill netting. 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.
Fort Parker Reservoir is a 750-acre impoundment located within Fort Parker State Park in Limestone County, Texas. Water level has fluctuated moderately since January 2011, yet is not formally gauged. Mean and maximum water depths are four and eight feet respectively, and the reservoir is moderately productive due to Navasota River inflows. Habitat features consisted mainly of natural shoreline.
Important sport fish include White Bass, Largemouth Bass, White Crappie, and Catfishes. Recent sport fish stockings have included Largemouth Bass and Channel Catfish in 2004 and Blue Catfish in 2009. Sport fish are managed with statewide regulations, except that there is no minimum length limit on catfishes, and the daily bag limit is five (in any combination). Numerous conversations were conducted with park staff regarding the removal of cutgrass and other types of shoreline vegetation, to improve bank fishing access within the park, yet little to no vegetation clearing has been performed. Recent invasive species efforts have included posting zebra mussel signage at boat ramps and distributing fliers, etc. to park staff in order to better educate visitors about invasive species and how to prevent their spread.
- Prey species: Gizzard Shad were collected at rates well above historical averages while Threadfin Shad were collected in low numbers. Other forage species included Bluegill, Longear Sunfish and Green Sunfish. Larger-sized sunfishes were not observed.
- Catfishes: The Blue Catfish catch rate was higher than the historical average while the Channel Catfish catch rate was below the historical average. The Blue Catfish population size structure was much-improved from previous surveys. Flathead Catfish were not collected.
- White Bass: A single White Bass was collected during this survey. Although the species exists in the reservoir in low density, White Bass are popular among anglers in the Navasota River both above and below Fort Parker Reservoir and park.
- Largemouth Bass: The Largemouth Bass catch rate was similar to the historical average, and body condition was good. Genetic analysis showed poor Florida Largemouth Bass influence.
- White Crappie: The White Crappie catch rate was similar to the historical average, and body condition was good.
- Manage sport fishes at Fort Parker Reservoir with existing regulations.
- Maintain invasive species signage at the boat ramp and inform the public about the negative impacts of aquatic invasive species when presenting to Fort Parker Reservoir user groups.
- Conduct access and vegetation surveys during summer 2018, and general monitoring surveys with trap netting, gill netting, and electrofishing in 2018-2019.
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