Richland Chambers Reservoir - 2014 Survey Report
Prepared by Richard A. Ott, Jr. and Jake D. Norman
Inland Fisheries Division - Tyler South District
This is the authors' summary from a 38-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Richland-Chambers Reservoir were surveyed in 2014 using electrofishing, trap netting, in 2015 using gill netting. An aquatic vegetation survey was conducted in August 2014. Anglers were surveyed from June through November 2014 and March through May 2015 with a creel survey. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Richland-Chambers Reservoir is a 41,356-acre reservoir (at full pool) on the Richland and Chambers Creek tributaries of the Trinity River. Boat access is adequate, but bank angler access is limited. At full pool boats can be launched from 9 boat ramps surrounding the lake, of which 5 are available without a fee. There are no handicap-specific facilities, but most are accessible. Aquatic vegetation was scarce due to high annual water level fluctuation. Anglers expended approximately 77,000 hours of fishing effort and spent an estimated $754,647 during the June 2014 through May 2015 creel survey.
Important sport fish include White Bass and Palmetto Bass, Largemouth Bass, Blue Catfish and Channel Catfish, and White Crappie and Black Crappie. Supplemental stocking of Largemouth Bass (genetics unknown) was conducted in 2013. Requests for stocking of Palmetto Bass have been submitted annually and in most years stockings were accomplished. Supplemental gill netting was conducted in 2013 to monitor the popular temperate bass, and catfish, fisheries. An experimental 30-45 inch slot-size limit for Blue Catfish was established in 2010. A creel survey was conducted in 2014 and 2015.
- Prey species: Gizzard Shad and Threadfin Shad were the most abundant prey species and provided ample prey for sport fish. Several sunfish species were present but at low abundance.
- Catfishes: Catfishes accounted for 13% of the directed angler effort during the most recent creel survey. Blue Catfish remain more abundant than Channel Catfish and represent 95% of the angler harvest. The experimental “trophy” blue catfish regulation implemented in 2009 is still under evaluation.
- Temperate basses: Temperate basses continued to be the most sought-after species group and made up 36% of the directed fishing effort. Decline in angling and gill net catch rates of White Bass compared to previous surveys is likely due to low inflows due to drought. Increased stocking rate of Palmetto Bass in 2013 and 2014 appear to have improved abundance.
- Largemouth Bass: Largemouth Bass was the second most sought-after species by anglers at Richland-Chambers Reservoir accounting for 25% of the directed fishing effort. Anglers fishing tournaments expended twice the effort of non-tournament anglers during the 2014-2015 creel survey. Few largemouth bass >14 inches were collected during the fall 2010 electrofishing survey.
- Crappie: Crappie traditionally supports a popular fishery at Richland Chambers Reservoir. Although size distribution was good, assessment of population abundance was confounded by low water level in fall 2014.
- Stock Palmetto Bass at 10/acre annually.
- Monitor temperate basses and catfishes populations with biennial gill netting in 2017 and 2019 and creel survey in 2018-2019.
- Monitor Largemouth Bass population in 2018 with fall electrofishing.
- Complete evaluation of the experimental Blue Catfish regulation.
- Continue to monitor for exotic species presence and educate resource users.
- Provide written and verbal news information on fisheries management and opportunities to appropriate media outlets.
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