Houston County Lake - 2008 Survey Report
Prepared by Jeff Henson and Mark Webb
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-E, Bryan, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 25-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Houston County Lake were surveyed in 2008 using electrofishing and trap netting and in 2009 using gill netting. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Houston County Lake is a 1,523 acre reservoir located on Little Elkhart Creek in the Trinity River basin near Crockett, Texas. The reservoir lies within the Piney Woods Vegetational Area. Soil types are Freestone-Kenny and Kaufman-Trinity Associations. The Houston County Water Conservation and Improvement District 1 (controlling agency) constructed Houston County Lake in 1966 to provide water for municipal and industrial purposes.
With the exception of largemouth bass, all sport fishes are managed under current statewide regulations. Largemouth bass harvest has been restricted with a 14-to 21-inch slot-length limit and a 5-fish daily bag limit, of which one fish over 21 inches is allowed per angler per day.
- Prey species: Dominant prey fishes in Houston County Lake were threadfin shad, gizzard shad, bluegill, and redear sunfish. Other prey species include warmouth, longear sunfish, bullhead minnow, pugnose minnow, and blacktail shiner. A significant sunfish fishery exists at Houston County Lake with anglers spending an estimated 2,148 hours seeking sunfish during March through May of 2006.
- Catfishes: Gill net catch rates of channel catfish have always been low at Houston County Lake. Flathead catfish were also present. No anglers reported seeking catfish during the March through May 2006 creel survey.
- White bass:White bass were present at Houston County Lake, but gill net samples indicated low numbers. Anglers were not observed targeting white bass during a creel survey conducted in spring 2006.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass were the most popular sport fish with anglers at Houston County Lake. During the March through May 2006 creel survey, anglers were estimated to have spent over 10,000 hours seeking largemouth bass, representing 73% of the intended total effort. Electrofishing catch rates were typically in the range of 80 to 90/h. The lake has a history of producing trophy-size bass. The water body record bass is 15.2 pounds caught in 1988.
- Crappie: Crappie have never been well represented in trap net samples from Houston County Lake; however, creel data indicated a significant fishery. During the March through May 2006 creel survey, an estimated 1,534 hours were spent by anglers seeking crappie (11% of total effort). The angler catch rate was 2.7/h, with anglers harvesting an estimated 2,900 crappie between 9 and 12 inches.
The largemouth bass population is monitored every two years while other species are monitored every four years. Requests are made to stock Florida largemouth bass fingerlings when justified. Hydrilla has returned to problematic levels and will be monitored annually. Currently, TPWD Inland Fisheries is communicating with the Houston County Agricultural Extension office and the Water Conservation and Improvement District to devise a cooperative plan for control of hydrilla.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-34 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program