Lake Houston - 2014 Survey Report
Prepared by Mark Webb and Alice Best
Inland Fisheries Division - College Station/Houston District
This is the authors' summary from a 36-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Lake Houston were surveyed in 2014 using electrofishing and trap netting and in 2015 using gill netting. Anglers were surveyed from June 2013 through May 2014 with a roving creel survey. Historical data are presented with the 2013-2015 data for comparison. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake Houston is a 12,240-acre reservoir constructed on the San Jacinto River by the City of Houston in 1954 to provide water for municipal and industrial purposes. Its location within the Houston metropolitan area results in heavy recreational use.
All sport fisheries at Lake Houston are regulated under statewide length and bag limits. For a number of years Palmetto Bass were stocked annually, but stockings were discontinued in 1999. Poor shallow-water habitat has limited survival of many sport fish species, particularly Largemouth Bass. Silt loading from improper sand and gravel mining techniques in the West Fork San Jacinto River upstream of the reservoir is the primary cause of the shallow-water habitat losses. Efforts to mitigate the sedimentation including solar water circulators, native vegetation restoration, and legislative action to better regulate sand and gravel mining are underway.
- Prey species: Gizzard and Threadfin Shad, Bluegill, Inland Silverside, and Longear Sunfish are the predominant prey species in Lake Houston. Abundance of prey species is adequate to support predators.
- Catfishes: Blue and Channel Catfish are both present in Lake Houston, and both provide outstanding fisheries. Catfish angling is an important segment of the Lake Houston fishery with 30% of all angling effort directed at catfish.
- White Bass: Gill net catches of White Bass have declined in the past several years likely due to poor spring inflows needed for spawning. In past creel surveys there has been pressure directed toward true bass species, but no pressure was documented in 2013–2014.
- Largemouth Bass: The Largemouth Bass population appears to be improving at Lake Houston in conjunction with improvements in available habitat for spawning and survival of juvenile bass. Anglers seeking Largemouth Bass make up 36% of all directed angling effort.
- Crappie: Although both Black Crappie and White Crappie occur in Lake Houston, White Crappie are more abundant. The percentage of anglers seeking crappie decreased in the last 4 years, but overall crappie harvest increased.
- Statewide length and bag limits will continue to be used to regulate sport fish harvest.
- Cooperative efforts with the City of Houston and the Lake Houston Sports and Recreation Foundation (LHSRF) will continue to address water quality and habitat issues.
- Exotic vegetation will continue to be monitored, and TPWD will assist the City of Houston with their control efforts whenever possible.
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