Lake Somerville - 2008 Survey Report
Prepared by Jeff Henson and Mark Webb
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-E, Bryan, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 24-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Lake Somerville were surveyed in 2008 using electrofishing and trap netting and in 2009 using gill netting. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake Somerville is an 11,456-acre flood control reservoir constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Yegua Creek in Burleson, Lee, and Washington Counties, Texas. Principle tributaries are Middle Yegua, West Yegua, and Nails Creeks. Lake Somerville has a drainage area of approximately 1,006 square miles and a shoreline length of 104 miles.
Important sport fish include white bass, palmetto bass, largemouth bass, crappie, and blue and channel catfish. The management plan from 2005 included annual gill netting and annual stockings of palmetto bass. In June 2008, 296,657 Florida largemouth bass were stocked. During the 2008-2009 ShareLunker season, an angler contributed a largemouth bass weighing 13.6 pounds, the first contribution to the program from Lake Somerville and a new water body record for the lake. Crappie and catfish populations have been monitored every four years. A new lake record blue catfish was caught in spring 2009. Hydrilla was present along with native plants; however, we have received no complaints from recreational users regarding aquatic plants.
- Prey species: Threadfin shad were the predominant prey species in Lake Somerville. Gizzard shad were also present and most were available as prey. Bluegill and longear sunfish were the most common sunfish prey. Electrofishing catch rates for sunfish were down from 2004. Other less important prey species included bullhead minnow, pugnose minnow, inland silverside, longear sunfish, green sunfish, warmouth, and redear sunfish.
- Catfishes: Channel and blue catfish were present in moderately high numbers. Surveys indicated a sustainable population and previous angler creel surveys indicate a popular fishery. A lake record blue catfish weighing 85 pounds was caught on a trotline in the spring of 2009.
- Temperate basses: White bass and palmetto bass were both present in Lake Somerville and were popular with anglers, particularly during the spring spawning run. Palmetto bass have been stocked annually.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass relative abundance and size structure have improved over the last several years. Florida bass fingerlings were stocked in 2008. During the 2008-2009 ShareLunker season, an angler caught and donated the first ever ShareLunker largemouth bass from Lake Somerville, which also set a new lake record at 13.6 pounds.
- Crappie: Black and white crappie occur in Lake Somerville with white crappie being the more prominent species. According to a previous creel survey, crappies are the most sought-after species at Lake Somerville.
- TPWD will monitor the temperate bass populations annually in the spring with gill nets.
- Largemouth bass and their prey will be monitored by electrofishing and crappie by trap nets in the fall of 2012.
- Exotic vegetation surveys will be conducted annually to monitor changes in hydrilla abundance.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-34 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program