Possum Kingdom Reservoir - 2010 Survey Report
Prepared by Mark Howell and Robert Mauk
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-E, Wichita Falls, Texas
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 Possum Kingdom Reservoir were surveyed in 2010 using trap nets and electrofishing and in 2011 using gill nets. This report summarizes the survey results and contains a management plan based on the findings.
Possum Kingdom Reservoir is a 15,588-acre impoundment located on the Brazos River approximately 76 miles west of Fort Worth. It has a primarily rocky shoreline with many boat docks. The reservoir was within 5 feet of conservation pool (1,000 ft. above mean sea level) from January of 2007 through May 2011.
Important sport fish include catfish, white bass, striped bass, largemouth bass, and crappie. Possum Kingdom was managed under statewide regulations until September 1, 2002 when the largemouth bass minimum length limit was raised to 16 inches and the striped bass bag limit was lowered to two per day in response to a golden alga (Prymnesium parvum) fish kill that occurred in early 2001. Golden alga mortality events also reoccurred in 2003, 2007, and 2010.
- Prey species: The 2010 gizzard shad catch rate was above the reservoir historical average and had an abundance of prey size fish. Additionally, threadfin shad were collected in relatively low numbers. The catch per unit effort (CPUE) for bluegill was below historical averages.
- Catfishes: The 2011 CPUE for blue and channel catfish was slightly higher than the historical average, though not quite as high as the previous 2009 survey. Three flathead catfish were sampled in the gill net survey; the first time since 2001.
- Temperate bass: White bass CPUE was down compared to the 2009 gill net survey. Striped bass CPUE in 2011 decreased greatly to the lowest CPUE in over 10 years. It appears the 2010 golden alga fish kill had a serious, adverse impact on this population. Three hybrid striped bass were also sampled, a species that is not stocked into the reservoir. They most likely entered the reservoir from the river above when Graham reservoir went over the spillway.
- Black bass: The 2010 largemouth bass electrofishing sample was slightly higher than the previous survey in 2008. No spotted or smallmouth bass have been observed since the 2002 survey.
- Crappie: The 2010 white crappie CPUE was the second highest catch rate documented at the reservoir. A good mix of sub-legal and legal length fish was sampled. Black crappie CPUE was the highest documented. White crappie were more abundant than black crappie.
Catfish, white bass, crappie and largemouth bass all provide good fishable populations and should be promoted to increase angler effort. The striped bass population and associated fishing effort has definitely declined since the initial golden alga fish kill in 2001. Annual stockings of striped bass will continue to be requested, although none were available from state hatcheries in 2011. Also propose a regulation change for striped bass from the more restrictive two fish bag to the statewide five fish bag. Florida largemouth bass fingerlings were stocked in 2011. Previous golden alga fish kills may have given anglers a more negative expectation than is warranted about certain fish populations. Continuing news release efforts will be needed.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-1 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program