Fort Phantom Hill Reservoir - 2007 Survey Report
Prepared by Spencer C. Dumont
Inland Fisheries Division
District 1-B, Abilene, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 34-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Fort Phantom Hill Reservoir were surveyed in 2007 using electrofishing and trap nets and in 2008 using gill nets. Anglers were surveyed from March through August in 2007. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Fort Phantom Hill Reservoir is a 4,246-acre impoundment constructed on Elm Creek approximately 15 miles north of Abilene, Texas. It is located in the Brazos River Basin, and its primary use was municipal water supply. Secondary use was recreation. Beginning in December 2003, power plant generation was reduced to peak use only. The reservoir filled to conservation level in August 2007, 10 years after it was last full. Water level was 1 to 2 feet below conservation level at time of sampling. At time of sampling littoral habitat was primarily rock, dead flooded-terrestrial vegetation, smartweed, black willow, and grass (unidentified).
Walleye were stocked 10 times from 1973 to 1995 before requests were discontinued because of poor stocking success and a failure to establish a fishery. Blue catfish were introduced in 1974 and have become an established fishery. An 18-inch minimum length limit on blue catfish existed from 1993 to 1999 before reinstatement to the statewide regulation. Threadfin shad were introduced in 1984 and have maintained a population. Florida largemouth bass were introduced in 1976 and have been stocked eight times from 1976 to 2001. A 16-inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass has been in place since 1994. Palmetto bass were introduced in 1977 and have been stocked nearly every year thereafter.
- Prey species: Electrofishing catch of gizzard shad and bluegill was high. With high prey abundance and good growth and body condition of sport fish, prey fish species were providing excellent forage for existing sport fish.
- Catfishes: The blue catfish population continued to improve and larger fish were available to anglers. Channel catfish were present in the reservoir.
- Temperate basses: White bass and palmetto bass populations were moderately abundant and provided excellent fishing opportunities.
- Largemouth bass: A strong year class of fish was produced in 2007. There appeared to be little, if any, difference in angler success and largemouth bass abundance and size structure under the 16-in MLL compared to the 14-inch MLL.
- White crappie: White crappie continued to be abundant, and over 30% of adult fish were legal size or longer. White crappie continued to be the most popular sport fish at Fort Phantom Hill Reservoir.
Investigate reinstating the 14-in MLL on largemouth bass. Obtain angler opinions on largemouth bass harvest regulations. Continue trap net and electrofishing surveys at two-year intervals and gill net surveys once every four years.
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