Hords Creek Reservoir - 2005 Survey Report
Prepared by Spencer Dumont and Mukhtar Farooqi
Inland Fisheries Division
District 1-B, Abilene, Texas
This is the authors' summary from an 18-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Hords Creek Reservoir were surveyed in 2005 using electrofishing and trap nets, and in 2006 using gill nets. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Hords Creek Reservoir is a 510-acre impoundment located on Hords Creek in the Colorado River Basin approximately 55 miles southeast of Abilene. The reservoir was under drought conditions from 1998 to 2004, and during this period the water level had dropped to 20 feet below conservation pool. Hords Creek Reservoir has been at or near full pool since December of 2004. Habitat features at the time of sampling consisted primarily of rocky shoreline and extensive areas of flooded terrestrial vegetation. Boat access is very good. There are three designated areas for bank fishing and three fishing piers.
Important sport fish include largemouth bass, white crappie, and catfish. Florida strain largemouth bass (FLMB) were originally introduced in 1986, but genotype frequency has been low in recent surveys with reference to trophy bass management objectives. The management plans from the 2001 survey report included stocking FLMB to increase the FLMB genotype frequency of the population to a minimum of 20%. Imperial strain and native strain channel catfish were stocked in 1998 as part of a study to determine which strain would be most effective to use in future stocking efforts in the district. Smallmouth bass were stocked in 1984 and 1985, but failed to establish.
- Prey species: Electrofishing catch of gizzard shad was adequate and a high proportion was available as prey to most sport fish. Electrofishing catch of bluegill was high; the vast majority of were three to four inches long.
- Catfish: The catch rate for channel catfish was low, however all of the fish caught during the survey were over the legal length limit (≥12 inches in length) and available to anglers for harvest. Fish up to 23 inches in length were recorded. Flathead catfish were present in low numbers. All the fish in the sample were of harvestable size; the largest measuring 29 inches in length.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass were relatively abundant and there was good evidence of reproductive success; this bodes well for future fishing opportunities as these fish recruit to larger size classes. However, overall size structure was poor; only 1% of the sample consisted of harvestable-size fish (≥14 inches in length). Genetic analysis revealed that all of the bass caught were second or higher generation intergrades between FLMB and northern strain largemouth (NLMB).
- White crappie: Abundance of white crappie was poor compared to previous surveys. The population structure was inadequate; only 6% of the sample consisted of legal-size fish.
Based on current data, this reservoir should continue to be managed with existing regulations. An additional electrofishing survey should be conducted in 2007 with the primary goal of monitoring the development of the bass population. A mandatory standard survey is scheduled to be carried out in 2009-2010 with trap nets, gill nets, and electrofishing gear to assess the status of the fishery as a whole. Efforts should be made to continue the dialogue initiated with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) lake manager to monitor shoreline development and its implications for fish habitat.
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