Lake O' the Pines - 2014 Survey Report
Prepared by Timothy J. Bister and Lynn D. Wright
Inland Fisheries Division - Marshall District
This is the authors' summary from a 29-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Lake O’ the Pines were surveyed in 2014 using electrofishing and tandem trap netting and in 2015 using baited hoop nets. Historical data are presented with the 2014-2015 data for comparison. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake O’ the Pines is a 16,269-acre reservoir on Big Cypress Creek, which was constructed in 1956 by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for flood control, municipal and industrial water supply, and public recreation. Habitat features consisted of inundated timber, brush, creek channels, and riprap. Native aquatic vegetation covered about 10% of the reservoir, while non-native invasive species (i.e., hydrilla, water hyacinth, and alligatorweed) accounted for 13% of the reservoir surface.
Important sport fish include Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish, White Bass, sunfish, and crappie. Palmetto Bass stocking was discontinued due to low angler utilization. All fish species are currently managed under statewide harvest regulations except for crappie. From 1 December until the last day in February, anglers are required to keep the first 25 crappie they catch each day regardless of size to minimize excess mortality due to fish being caught in deep water.
- Prey species: Threadfin Shad continued to be present in the reservoir. Electrofishing catch of Gizzard Shad has increased over the past few surveys, and about half of Gizzard Shad were available as prey to most sport fish during the 2014 survey. Electrofishing catch of Bluegills was high, providing excellent prey for sport fish. Redear Sunfish were present up to 8 inches long, providing an excellent angling opportunity.
- Catfishes: Baited tandem hoop nets were used for the first time to sample Channel Catfish in this reservoir. Average body condition of fish was good. However, no fish longer than 19 inches was collected. Future sampling with these nets will allow us to monitor trends.
- White Bass: White Bass catch rates in gill nets have historically been low. Few anglers have been documented targeting White Bass during previous creel surveys. While fish can be caught during their spring spawning run, only a negligible fishery exists for them during the remainder of the year. Therefore, they were not sampled during this survey period.
- Largemouth Bass: Largemouth Bass growth has improved in recent years. The catch of smaller fish increased since the last survey, but there were less fish >8 inches compared to previous years.
- Crappie: An attempt to use dual-cod trap nets to sample crappie did not collect the desired number of fish. However, crappie growth was good. The average age of 10 inch Black Crappie was 2.2 years, and 2.0 years for White Crappie.
- Continue to stock Florida Largemouth Bass every other year.
- Conduct electrofishing in 2016 and 2018.
- Investigate new ways to sample crappie.
- Conduct baited tandem hoop netting for Channel Catfish and low frequency electrofishing for Flathead Catfish in 2018.
- Conduct annual vegetation surveys to monitor invasive plant species.
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