Mexia Reservoir - 2015 Survey Report
Prepared by Michael S. Baird and John Tibbs
Inland Fisheries Division – Waco 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 Mexia Reservoir were surveyed during summer and fall 2015 using tandem hoop nets and boat electrofishing respectively, and during winter and spring 2016 using trap nets and gill nets. Historical data are presented with the 2015-2016 data for comparison. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Mexia Reservoir is a 1,009-acre impoundment located on the Navasota River within the Brazos River Basin, Limestone County. Water level has been within 6 feet of conservation pool (448.3) since 2011. The water level was 1 to 1.5’ below conservation pool during the 2015 surveys, and at or near conservation pool during the 2016 surveys. Habitat features consisted of natural shoreline, rocky shoreline, bulkhead and boat docks and piers.
Important sport fish include Largemouth Bass, Channel Catfish and White Crappie. Sport fish have always been managed with statewide regulations. Blue Catfish were originally stocked in 1975; then again in 1995 and 1996, but failed to produce a viable sport fishery. Since Blue Catfish were an appropriate choice for a supplemental top predator in this shallow reservoir, fingerlings were again stocked in 2008 to try and establish a population. A follow-up gill net survey in 2012 showed recruitment to the gear and record numbers of Blue Catfish in the collection. Full aquatic vegetation and shoreline habitat surveys were conducted in 2011. Recent management efforts have included sharing information about the reservoir’s loss of volume (through erosion and sedimentation within its watershed) with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD’s) habitat branch and others who could take-on the issue on a watershed scale, and cooperating with the controlling authority to post appropriate signage at access points to try and prevent the spread of the invasive zebra mussel into the reservoir.
- Prey species: Threadfin and Gizzard Shad were present in the reservoir in good numbers, and most Gizzard Shad were available as prey to sport fish. Other forage species included Bluegill, Longear Sunfish and Green Sunfish. Larger-sized sunfishes were not observed.
- Catfishes: Channel Catfish remained an important sport fish in the reservoir, and their catch rate was above the historical average. Channel Catfish body condition was lower than previous years. Blue Catfish were collected in low numbers and Flathead Catfish were not observed during 2016 gill netting.
- White Bass: White Bass were collected below their historical average again in 2016.
- Largemouth Bass: Largemouth Bass were present in the reservoir but not abundant; catch rate was well below the historical average. Largemouth Bass body condition was lower than previous years and few legal-sized fish were observed.
- White crappie: White Crappie were abundant in the reservoir, and their catch rate was higher than it has been since 1991. White Crappie body condition remained high.
Continue managing sport fishes at Mexia Reservoir with statewide regulations. Maintain invasive species signage and inform the public about the negative impacts of aquatic invasive species. Conduct access and vegetation surveys in summer 2019, and general monitoring surveys with trap nets and gill nets in 2019 and 2020.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-6 Inland Fisheries Division Monitoring and Management Program