Kirby Reservoir - 2013 Survey Report
Prepared by Michael D. Homer Jr. and Natalie Amoroso
Inland Fisheries Division
District 1-B, Abilene, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 37-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
From 2010 to 2014, fish populations in Kirby Reservoir were surveyed with various methods including electrofishing, low-frequency electrofishing, tandem hoop netting, trap netting, and gill netting. Anglers were interviewed during June 2010–May 2011 and September 2013–May 2014 with roving creel surveys. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Kirby Reservoir is a 740-acre impoundment at conservation pool located within the city limits of Abilene, Texas. The reservoir is an impoundment on Cedar Creek within the Brazos River Basin. During fall 2000, the lake went completely dry but refilled by July 2002. Since September 2001, treated effluent water has been pumped into the reservoir to help manage the water level. Habitat features consist of mud flats, rocks, brush, and vegetation consisted of bulrush, black willow, and exotic salt cedar. Two boat ramps and one handicap-accessible fishing pier are available, and bank-fishing access is plentiful.
Sport fish include Blue Catfish, Channel Catfish, White Crappie, saugeye, Largemouth Bass, and sunfishes. All sport fishes, with the exception of Blue and Channel catfish, are managed under current statewide harvest regulations. In 2011, Blue and Channel catfish harvest regulations were modified to allow for harvest without a minimum length limit and a daily bag limit increase from 25 to 50 fish/day in combination with no more than 5 fish ≥20 inches.
- Prey species: Gizzard Shad and Bluegill were the dominant prey in the reservoir. In 2013, electrofishing catch of Gizzard Shad was high and similar to the 2011 survey, but lower than in 2009. Bluegill catch remained high in 2013 but slightly lower than previous surveys. Bluegill was the most dominant prey sampled during the 2013 electrofishing survey, and most fish were available as prey for sport fish.
- Catfishes: In 2014, Blue Catfish gill net catch was similar to previous surveys. Channel Catfish gill net catch was greater than previous surveys. Flathead Catfish were present in the reservoir. Creel surveys from 2010-2011 and 2013-2014 indicated that anglers targeted catfishes more than other species, and most fish caught were being released. Blue Catfish were the most targeted species by anglers at Kirby Reservoir.
- Largemouth Bass: Largemouth Bass had lower catch in 2013 than previous survey years, and less legal-size fish were available to anglers compared to 2011. Creel surveys indicated that few anglers at Kirby Reservoir fished for Largemouth Bass. Harvest of Largemouth Bass was greater during the 2013-2014 creel period than in 2010-2011.
- Saugeye: Saugeye were caught in lower numbers in both fall 2013 electrofishing and spring 2014 gill netting surveys than previous surveys. Saugeye stockings have ceased as a result of poor directed angling effort. Creels indicated that anglers rarely target saugeye, and none were caught during the two most recent creel periods.
- White Crappie: White Crappie catch was consistently low in comparison to previous surveys. Crappie supported a small angler base at Kirby Reservoir according to the angler creel surveys, and most legal size fish were harvested.
- Monitor catfishes by low-frequency electrofishing, tandem hoop netting, and gill netting.
- Conduct electrofishing surveys to monitor trends of Largemouth Bass and forage species.
- Conduct biennial trap netting surveys to monitor White Crappie.
- Conduct a creel survey to obtain directed effort and harvest data for fishes.
- Collaborate with the City of Abilene to improve angler access and aesthetics.
- Educate public about invasive species introductions.
- Conduct access and vegetation/habitat surveys.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-4 Inland Fisheries Division Monitoring and Management Program