Possum Kingdom Reservoir - 2014 Survey Report
Prepared by Tom Lang and Robert Mauk
Inland Fisheries Division - Wichita Falls District
This is the authors' summary from a 33-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 2014 using electrofishing and trap netting and in 2015 using gill netting. Historical data are presented with the 2014-2015 data for comparison. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those 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 15 feet of conservation pool (1,000 ft. above mean sea level) during the survey year. In May 2015, substantial rainfall occurred and Possum Kingdom filled to capacity.
Important sport fish populations 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. The Striped Bass bag limit was returned to the statewide bag limit on September 1, 2012. Golden alga mortality events also reoccurred in 2003, 2007, and 2010.
- Prey species: The 2014 Gizzard Shad catch rate was below the reservoir historical average and most of the sampled shad were too big to be consumed by predators. Threadfin Shad were collected in relatively low numbers. The catch per unit effort (CPUE) for Bluegill was below historical averages.
- Catfishes: The 2015 CPUE for Blue Catfish was the highest ever observed with good length structure and body condition. Channel Catfish catch rate was up over the previous two surveys and above the historical average. Body condition indices increased with increased size of Channel Catfish.
- Temperate bass: White Bass CPUE was down compared to the 2013 gill net survey. Striped Bass CPUE in 2015 increased which was expected since fish have been stocked the last two years and no golden alga-caused fish kills have occurred since 2010. Length frequency for Striped Bass was impressive with fish from seven to 30 inches sampled. No Palmetto Bass were sampled during the survey but that is not surprising since they are not stocked and only enter the reservoir when water from Lake Graham goes over the spillway.
- Black bass: The 2014 Largemouth Bass electrofishing sample was slightly higher than the previous survey in 2012. No Spotted or Smallmouth Bass have been observed since the 2002 survey. There were good numbers of legal-length bass sampled and many just under legal length, which will recruit to legal length within the year based on past growth rates. Few smaller bass were sampled.
- Crappie: The 2014 Black and White Crappie CPUE’s were the lowest catch rates documented at the reservoir. Only one White Crappie was sampled and no Black Crappie were sampled. This confirms the anecdotal angler reports we received reporting a lack of crappie in the reservoir.
Catfish, Striped and White Bass, and Largemouth Bass all provide good fishable populations and should be promoted to increase angler effort. Annual stockings of Striped Bass will continue to be requested, though the rates will change depending on survey results. Florida Largemouth Bass fingerlings were stocked from 2011-2014.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-5 Inland Fisheries Division Monitoring and Management Program