Lake Hawkins - 2011 Survey Report
Prepared by Kevin W. Storey
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-B, Tyler, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 22-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Lake Hawkins were surveyed in 2011 using electrofishing and in 2012 using gill netting. Aquatic vegetation, habitat, and access surveys were conducted during August 2011. Additional vegetation surveys were conducted in May and June 2011 to monitor an increase in the hydrilla coverage. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake Hawkins is a 634-acre impoundment located in Wood County, Texas, on Little Sandy Creek, a tributary of the Sabine River. The reservoir was constructed by Wood County for flood control and recreation. Habitat consists primarily of native submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation. Hydrilla and Eurasian watermilfoil are also present in the reservoir. Standing timber is present but is concentrated in the northern portion of the lake.
Largemouth bass is the most important sport fish. The management plan from the 2007 survey report recommended conducting electrofishing sampling every two years and monitoring the genetics of the Florida largemouth bass population using fin clips from a sample of largemouth bass collected during fall electrofishing. Periodic vegetation surveys were scheduled to monitor hydrilla in the lake and the controlling authority stocked 200 additional triploid grass carp in November 2011 in response to the increase in abundance and distribution of hydrilla.
- Prey species: Historically, clupeids have been low in abundance in Lake Hawkins due to low primary productivity. Electrofishing catch of gizzard shad was low, and only large individuals were collected. Threadfin shad were also collected. The predominant prey species in the reservoir are sunfishes, including bluegill, redear sunfish, redbreast sunfish and other less abundant species. Electrofishing catch of bluegill was good, but few bluegill measured over 6 inches. Larger redbreast sunfish and redear sunfish (> 7 inches) were present and provided additional fisheries resources.
- Catfishes: No catfish were sampled in the reservoir during the spring 2011 gill net survey. Although channel catfish were stocked as recently as 1992, few fish have been collected in population sampling.
- Largemouth bass: Electrofishing catch rate of largemouth bass in 2011 (88.0/h) was higher than in the previous two surveys (2007, 64/h; 2009, 68/h). Catch rates were influenced by high water clarity and abundant aquatic vegetation. Relative weights of bass were high with most inch classes averaging 90 to 100. Few individuals of legal-size (≥14 inches) were collected.
- Crappies: Black crappie have historically occurred in low abundance. Optional fall trap netting was not conducted during 2011 because sampling with this gear has traditionally collected few fish.
Conduct annual vegetation surveys in spring and fall to monitor hydrilla coverage and make management recommendations based on survey findings. Continue with standard monitoring using electrofishing, gill netting, and access surveys in 2015-2016 along with largemouth bass-only electrofishing in 2013. A roving creel survey is planned for March through May 2016.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-2 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program