Lake Tawakoni - 2014 Survey Report
Prepared by Kevin W. Storey and Daniel L. Bennett
Inland Fisheries Division - Tyler North District
This is the authors' summary from a 44-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Lake Tawakoni were surveyed in 2014 using electrofishing and in 2015 using gill netting. An access-point creel survey was conducted from June 2013 through May 2014. An angler opinion survey was conducted from July 2013 through June 2014 to gauge the support of catfish anglers for a regulation change to protect trophy Blue Catfish from harvest. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir.
Lake Tawakoni is a 37,325-acre reservoir located in Van Zandt, Rains, and Hunt Counties, Texas, on South Fork and Cowleech Fork of the Sabine River and Caddo Creek. The reservoir was constructed by the Sabine River Authority to provide water for municipal and industrial uses and for recreational purposes.
Important sport fishes in Lake Tawakoni include Striped Bass, Hybrid Striped Bass (Palmetto Bass and Sunshine Bass), White Bass, Blue Catfish, Channel Catfish, Black Crappie, White Crappie, and Largemouth Bass. Annual requests are submitted to stock Striped Bass and Palmetto Bass and/or Sunshine Bass to maintain these fisheries.
- Prey species: Lake Tawakoni contains populations of both Gizzard Shad and Threadfin Shad of appropriate size to provide prey for sport fish. Catches of sunfishes such as Bluegill, and Longear Sunfish were reduced because of poor aquatic habitat conditions resulting from reduced lake elevation at the time of sampling.
- Catfishes: Lake Tawakoni continues to support quality fisheries for Blue Catfish and Channel Catfish which were responsible for the highest directed angling effort. Blue Catfish remain more abundant in population surveys than Channel Catfish although more Channel Catfish were harvested in creel surveys. Both species exhibited lower catch rates in 2015 than in previous surveys. Anglers were overwhelmingly in support of restricting harvest of large Blue Catfish.
- Temperate basses: Lake Tawakoni contains a diverse mix of temperate bass species including White Bass, Striped Bass, Palmetto Bass and Sunshine Bass supported by an ample prey base and abundant open water habitat. This combined species group is second in popularity at Lake Tawakoni. Annual requests are submitted to stock Striped Bass and Palmetto Bass and/or Sunshine Bass.
- Largemouth Bass: Catches of Largemouth Bass in electrofishing were low because of poor aquatic habitat resulting from low lake elevation at the time of sampling. Directed effort for Largemouth Bass was the lowest of any species or species group and tournament fishing accounted for less than 5% of directed effort for Largemouth Bass.
- Crappie: Directed angler effort for crappie was responsible for the third highest angler effort and fishing pressure was substantially higher in 2013-2014 as compared with 2008-2009. Although angler catch rate was lower, harvest was over three times higher than before. Almost twice as many White Crappie were harvested as compared with Black Crappie.
- Requests for stockings of Striped Bass and Palmetto and/or Sunshine Bass will continue annually.
- An optional gill net survey will be conducted in Spring 2017, general monitoring involving gill netting and electrofishing surveys will be repeated in 2018-2019, and an access creel survey will be conducted in 2017-2018.
- An aquatic vegetation survey will be conducted in 2018 and annual surveys will be performed to check for the presence of water hyacinth.
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