Leon Reservoir - 2014 Survey Report
Prepared by Michael D. Homer Jr. and Natalie Goldstrohm
Inland Fisheries Division - Abilene Distrcit
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 Leon Reservoir were surveyed in summer 2014 by tandem hoop netting, fall 2012 and 2014 by electrofishing and trap netting and in spring 2015 by gill netting. Anglers were surveyed from March 2013 through August 2013 with an access creel survey. Historical data are presented with the 2012-2015 data for comparison. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Leon Reservoir is a 1,590-acre reservoir that was constructed in 1954 by impounding the Leon River. The reservoir is located in Eastland County, roughly seven miles south of the City of Eastland, and it is controlled by the Eastland County Water Supply District. Leon Reservoir for flood control, municipal and industrial water supply for the City of Eastland, and for recreation.
Important sport fish include Largemouth Bass, White Crappie, Black Crappie, Channel Catfish, Flathead Catfish, and White Bass. Hydrilla was first documented in the 2010 vegetation survey and was mechanically removed in one northeastern cove; additional areas containing miniscule patches of hydrilla were not treated. From 2011-2014, hydrilla was monitored annually, and it did not cause any problems with angler and boater access. The most recent stocking (Florida Largemouth Bass) occurred in 2012.
- Prey species: Gizzard Shad, Bluegill, and Longear Sunfish comprised the majority of the forage base for the predator assemblage. Threadfin Shad, Bullhead Minnow, Green Sunfish, Warmouth, Orange-Spotted Sunfish, Redear Sunfish, and Inland Silversides were also present. Size structures of prey species were suitable to support sport fish populations.
- Catfishes: Channel Catfish and Flathead Catfish were present in the reservoir. In 2015, relative abundance of Channel Catfish was similar to the 2011 gill net survey. The tandem hoop netting survey in 2014 yielded slightly higher catch than the survey in 2010, and catch was dominated by smaller fish (i.e., ≤15 in.). One Flathead Catfish was collected during the gill net survey. Channel Catfish should provide good fishing opportunities.
- White bass: In 2015, Gill net CPUE for White Bass was higher than in 2011 but substantially lower than in 2007. Catch of legal-sized fish increased since 2011, but was still lower than in 2007. In 2015, size structure was comprised with most fish being ≥10 in. Despite low reported effort by anglers, gill netting catch of legal-size fish is promising to support a sport fishery.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth Bass relative abundance has remained similar from 2010-2014. In 2014, higher presence of fish ≤stock-size and less legal-sized fish (i.e., ≥14-in) were collected compared to previous surveys. Similar to previous surveys, individuals captured in the 2014 survey had suboptimal body condition.
- Crappie: Both White Crappie and Black Crappie were present in the reservoir, but White Crappie were more abundant. Fewer legal-size (i.e., ≥10-in.) crappie were caught in comparison to prior surveys. Body conditions of crappie were adequate (>90).
- Biennial electrofishing will be conducted to monitor Largemouth Bass in fall 2016 and fall 2018; forage species will be sampled concurrently in fall 2018.
- Trap netting will be used in fall 2018 to monitor for White Crappie and Black Crappie.
- Spring 2019 gill netting will be conducted to monitor Channel Catfish and White Bass populations.
- Hydrilla will be surveyed annually. The public will be notified of invasive species spread prevention and existing problematic species in the reservoir. Access and vegetation surveys will be completed in summer 2018.
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