Martin Creek Reservoir - 2013 Survey Report
Prepared by Dan Ashe and Todd Driscoll
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-D, Jasper, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 28-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Martin Creek Reservoir were surveyed in 2013 using electrofishing and in 2014 using gill netting. Anglers were surveyed from December 2013 through February 2014 with a creel survey. Historical data are presented with the 2013-2014 data for comparison. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Martin Creek Reservoir is located on Martin Creek, a tributary of the Sabine River in Rusk County. Luminant Energy impounded the reservoir in 1974 to provide cooling water for their coal-powered generators. At conservation pool, Martin Creek Reservoir is 4,981 surface acres with a shoreline length of 62 miles, and a mean depth of 16 feet. Water level fluctuations average 3 to 5 feet annually.
The management plan from the 2009 survey report included working in conjunction with Martin Creek State Park and Luminant Energy to prevent additional introductions of giant salvinia. Additionally, annual aquatic vegetation surveys were recommended to ensure that a rapid response could occur if giant salvinia was reintroduced. State Park personnel have been vigilant in inspecting boat trailers, and aquatic vegetation surveys have not documented giant salvinia since 2009. Triploid grass carp were stocked from 1996 through 1999 at a rate of 0.6/acre each year to reduce hydrilla that covered about a third of the reservoir. Aquatic vegetation was introduced in 2012 and brushpiles were introduced in 2014.
- Prey species: Primary prey species were Gizzard Shad, Threadfin Shad, and Bluegill. Catch rates and body condition of both Blue Catfish and Largemouth Bass suggested that these prey species provided ample forage for predator species.
- Catfishes: Channel Catfish abundance decreased significantly over the last three survey years. Blue Catfish fingerlings were stocked in 2003 and 2007. Although gill net data indicated good survival, excellent growth, and natural recruitment of Blue Catfish, the popularity of the fishery declined, accounting for only 8.9% of the directed angling effort in the winter of 2013/2014 compared to 23.6% directed effort in the spring of 2002. However, this observed decline may be due to the difference in creel survey seasons.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth Bass provided the most popular fishery during the winter quarter of 2013/2014 (90.3% of total angling effort). Largemouth Bass abundance and size structure was moderate and stable over the last three electrofishing surveys, and fish were in moderate body condition.
- Crappies: Only Black Crappie was observed during the winter quarter 2013/2014 creel survey. Total angling effort directed towards crappies was < 1% with only 214 fish reported as caught (69 were harvested).
Giant salvinia was discovered in 2009. Inland Fisheries staff has advised park personnel regarding plant identification and transport potential via boat trailers. Vegetation surveys will be conducted annually to monitor giant salvinia. Currently, there is little aquatic vegetation present. When vegetation reestablishes, Inland Fisheries staff will advise the controlling authority on vegetation control. In coordination with State Park staff, additional brushpiles will be introduced.
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