Lake Monticello - 2007 Survey Report
Prepared by Timothy J. Bister and Michael W. Brice
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-A, Marshall, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 24-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Lake Monticello were surveyed in 2007 using electrofishing and in 2008 using gill nets. Anglers were surveyed from December 2006 to February 2007 with an access creel. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake Monticello is a 2,000-acre impoundment constructed in 1972 on Smith and Blundell Creeks in the Big Cypress River Basin. Structural habitat is mainly inundated timber. Native aquatic plant abundance is limited and waterhyacinth is present in the reservoir. A substantial fish kill occurred during the summer 2006.
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 consists of a high proportion of pure Florida largemouth bass. TPWD and Texas Utilities are coordinating the management of waterhyacinth. No fish stocking has been conducted since the last survey report.
- Prey species: Few shad were collected during 2007 electrofishing, but bluegill catch rates have doubled since the previous survey. This increase in bluegill abundance will provide adequate prey for largemouth bass in the reservoir.
- Catfishes: There were many channel catfish collected above legal length (12 inches) during the 2008 gill net survey. Thirteen percent of all angling effort at Lake Monticello was directed towards catfish from December 2006 through February 2007. Anglers caught 2 legal catfish for every one fish below 12 inches.
- Largemouth bass: Electrofishing catch rates were low and no fish were observed > 24 inches. Fish body condition was good, indicating adequate prey availability. Age-1 largemouth bass exhibited fast growth rates. Over 80% of the directed effort from December 2006 through February 2007 at Lake Monticello was from anglers targeting largemouth bass.
- Crappie: Trap netting was not conducted during this survey period due to historically poor trap-net catch at this reservoir. An estimated 49 black crappie were harvested between December 2006 and February 2007.
- Conduct electrofishing surveys every other year beginning in 2009, and general monitoring with gill nets in 2012.
- Waterhyacinth surveys will be conducted annually beginning in 2008. Technical guidance will be given to controlling authority regarding waterhyacinth 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-30-R-33 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program