Pat Cleburne Reservoir - 2015 Survey Report
Prepared by Michael S. Baird and John Tibbs
Inland Fisheries Division – Waco District
This is the authors' summary from a 35-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Pat Cleburne Reservoir were surveyed in 2015 using electrofishing and trap nets and in 2016 using 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.
Pat Cleburne Reservoir is a 1,568-acre impoundment located on the Nolan River within the Brazos River Basin, Johnson County. Water level has been within 7.7 feet of conservation pool (733.5 above mean sea level [MSL]) since 2011. The water level was 3’ below conservation pool during the 2015 electrofishing survey, near conservation pool during the 2015 trap net survey, and 2’ above conservation pool during the spring gill net survey. Habitat features consisted of natural shoreline, rocky shoreline and limited boat docks and piers.
Important sport fish include Largemouth Bass, Channel and Blue Catfish, White Bass and White Crappie. Sport fish have always been managed with statewide regulations. The management plan from the 2007 survey report recommended contacting the City of Cleburne and urging them to clean-up the boat ramp area. Although the area improved over the next few years, it is now closed to the public. The management plan from the 2012 survey report included conducting vegetation and physical habitat surveys and publicizing the reservoir’s angling opportunities. Full aquatic vegetation and structural habitat surveys were conducted during 2011 and 2012. Several fishing and angling articles have been released to local television and radio stations highlighting Pat Cleburne Reservoir opportunities since that time. The most recent fish stocking was advanced fingerling Channel Catfish in 1998. Recent management efforts include 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 fair numbers, and most Gizzard Shad were available as prey to sport fish. Other forage species included Bluegill, Longear Sunfish, Redear Sunfish, Warmouth and Green Sunfish.
- Catfishes: Blue Catfish and Channel Catfish were important sport fish in the reservoir, yet their catch rates were below historical averages. Condition was generally good for both species. Catfishes were the most sought-after sport fish in the reservoir.
- White Bass: White Bass were thought to be an important sport fish in Pat Cleburne Reservoir; however, only 5% of anglers sought this species during fall 2015. White Bass catch rate was well below the historical average for the species, and body condition was poor.
- Largemouth Bass: Largemouth Bass were abundant in the reservoir and the catch rate for this species far exceeded the historical average. Recent recruitment appeared to be excellent. Body condition was generally excellent. Twenty-five percent of anglers sought this species during fall 2015.
- White Crappie: White Crappie were present in the reservoir in low numbers. Body condition improved with increasing size. Nearly 8% of anglers targeted White Crappie.
Continue managing sport fishes at Pat Cleburne 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 electrofishing and gill net surveys 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