Lake Pinkston - 2003 Survey Report
Prepared by Todd Driscoll
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-D, Jasper, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 23-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Lake Pinkston was surveyed in 2003-2004 with electrofishing (fall and spring), trap nets, gill nets, a structural habitat/aquatic vegetation survey, and an angler access survey. This report summarizes the results of these surveys and comparisons are made with historical data (1986-2003). Based on this information, a management plan was developed for the reservoir.
Lake Pinkston is located on Sandy Creek, a tributary of the Attoyac Bayou in the Neches River basin. The City of Center is the controlling authority. Primary uses are municipal water supply and recreation. At conservation pool (300 feet msl), Lake Pinkston is 447 surface acres in size, with a shoreline length of 4 miles, and a mean depth of 20 feet. Water level fluctuations average 5 feet annually. Angler and boat access is adequate but no handicap-specific facilities exist. Habitat in the lake consists of submerged aquatic vegetation (mainly hydrilla) and standing timber. Most of the land around the reservoir is used for timber production and agriculture.
- Prey species: Primary prey species include gizzard shad, threadfin shad, and bluegill. Electrofishing catch rates for these species in 2003 were 89.0/hour, 175.0/hour, and 341.0/hour, respectively. Currently, most gizzard shad are not available as prey due to their large size (> 8 inches). The threadfin shad catch rate was higher than the historical reservoir average (94.6/hour). The catch rate of bluegill was lower than the previous two sample years (2001 - 438.0/hour; 2002 - 505.0/hour) but similar to the historical average (364.4/hour). Populations of threadfin shad and bluegill currently provide abundant prey.
- Catfishes: In 1987, a channel catfish stocking exceeding 300 fish/acre had only short-term success, as none have been collected since 1989. Channel catfish recruitment is possibly limited by largemouth bass predation.
- White bass: White bass were collected during 2004 gill netting at a rate of 2.6/net night. All exceeded the minimum length limit of 10 inches. White bass catch rates vary quite a bit among previous samples (1993, 0.4/net night; 1996, 5.0 net/night; 1999, 1.0/net night).
- Largemouth bass: In 2003, the fall electrofishing catch rate of largemouth bass (160.0/hour) was similar to 2002 (146.0/hour) and the historical reservoir average (165.9/hour). Relative weights all exceeded 90 and generally improved from 2002. The reservoir has been regulated with a 14-21 inch slot length limit since September 2001. Since implementation of this limit, the RSD of 14-21 inch fish has increased from 27 to 38. Since 1999, spring electrofishing catch rates have been relatively high (> 243.0/hour) and all exceeded the historical reservoir average of 235.1/hour. The catch rate in 2004 (320.0/hour) is the highest recorded at the reservoir. During the past three survey years, data indicate relatively stable population structure and good recruitment into the protective 14-21 inch slot length limit. Growth rates have been relatively steady; age-3 and older fish exceed ecological region averages. Largemouth bass recruit into the slot length limit between ages 2 and 3. Although no Florida largemouth bass have been stocked since 1976, historical electrophoresis data have revealed that the frequency of pure Florida largemouth bass has always exceeded 20%.
- Crappie: Currently, little is known regarding crappie abundance in the reservoir. Both white and black crappies are present, but since 1993 only black crappies have been collected in trap net surveys. Trap netting has been relatively ineffective in sampling crappie at this reservoir, as the historical reservoir catch rate average is only 0.9 fish/net night. In 2004, adult crappies were collected from gill netting at a rate of 5.6 fish/net-night. Anecdotal reports from anglers indicate that the reservoir supports an abundant crappie population.
- Current harvest regulations should remain unchanged. Based on angler desires for increased numbers of trophy-sized largemouth bass, in September 2001 harvest regulations were changed from a 14-18 inch slot length limit to a 14-21 inch slot length limit. Largemouth bass recruitment into the protective slot length limit appears high and stable. Growth rates of these fish also seem steady and exceed ecological region averages. Relative weights are currently at desirable levels.
- The largemouth bass population will be monitored closely by conducting biennial electrofishing surveys. No creel surveys have been conducted at Lake Pinkston since 1986. An excellent largemouth bass population is present and the fishery is popular with area anglers.
- Currently, angler reports reflect a viable crappie fishery, but data is lacking. During the spring of 2008, an access point creel survey will be conducted to collect information on the largemouth bass and crappie fisheries.
- Historically, hydrilla coverage has exceeded 50% of the waterbody and interfered with water intakes associated with municipal use of water. Triploid grass carp were stocked in 1997 at a rate of 7 fish/vegetated acre. Hydrilla coverage has been reduced to a suitable level (30%) to support both municipal use of water and bluegill and largemouth bass recruitment. However, additional stockings of triploid grass carp could result in excessive reduction of hydrilla and negatively impact recruitment. The hydrilla coverage will be monitored annually. If problems occur, the City of Center will be consulted to develop a management plan to reduce hydrilla coverage.
- Although angler access is currently adequate, parking lots are unpaved and rough. During periods of heavy rainfall, parking is reduced. We will encourage the City of Center to participate in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Boat Ramp Program to improve access.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-29 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program