Lake Monticello - 2015 Survey Report
Prepared by Timothy J. Bister and Lynn D. Wright
Inland Fisheries Division – Marshall District
This is the authors' summary from a 23-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Lake Monticello were surveyed in 2015 using electrofishing and in 2016 using baited tandem hoop netting. 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.
Lake Monticello is a 2,001-acre impoundment constructed in 1972 on Smith and Blundell Creeks in the Big Cypress River Basin. Primary uses are for power plant cooling and recreation. Structural habitat is mainly inundated timber. Native aquatic plant abundance has increased in recent years. Water hyacinth and hydrilla are present in the reservoir.
Important sport fish include Channel Catfish and Largemouth Bass. Channel Catfish are managed with the statewide 12-inch minimum length limit. Largemouth Bass are managed with a 14- to 24-inch slot length limit and 5-fish daily bag, of which only one fish can be greater than 24 inches. The Largemouth Bass population is managed for its trophy potential due to the high percentage of pure Florida Largemouth Bass genetics and fast growth.
- Prey species: Threadfin Shad and Gizzard Shad were present in the reservoir. Most (79%) Gizzard Shad were small enough to be available as prey to most sport fish. Electrofishing catch of Bluegill was very high, and many fish were < 4 inches providing excellent prey for Largemouth Bass.
- Channel Catfish: There were many Channel Catfish collected above legal length (12 inches) during the 2016 tandem hoop netting survey. Fish collected ranged from 8 to 23 inches.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth Bass were abundant in the fall electrofishing survey. Also, there were many small fish, which indicated excellent reproduction and recruitment of fish that were spawned in 2015. Largemouth Bass had fast growth (average age at 14 inches long was 1 year). Fish also had excellent body condition, indicating good prey availability.
- Black Crappie: Black Crappie have been present in Lake Monticello, but they usually exist in low density. Also, few anglers have been documented fishing for crappie in the past. Therefore, no sampling was conducted for crappie during this report period.
- Survey Largemouth Bass and prey populations with electrofishing during fall 2019 and the Channel Catfish population with baited tandem hoop netting during spring 2020.
- Conduct an additional electrofishing survey in fall 2017 to monitor Largemouth Bass and prey populations.
- Water hyacinth and hydrilla surveys will be conducted annually beginning in 2016. Technical guidance will be given to controlling authority regarding water hyacinth management.
- Largemouth Bass will continue to be managed with a 14- to 24-inch slot length limit.
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