Toledo Bend Reservoir - 2015 Survey Report
Prepared by Todd Driscoll and Dan Ashe
Inland Fisheries Division – Jasper District
This is the authors' summary from a 40-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Toledo Bend Reservoir were surveyed in 2015-2016 using electrofishing and gill netting. Anglers were surveyed from June 2015 through May 2016 with a creel survey. Historical data are presented with the 2015-2016 data for comparison. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the Texas side of the reservoir.
Toledo Bend Reservoir is a 181,600-acre (70,469 acres in Texas) impoundment of the Sabine River in Newton, Sabine, and Shelby counties in southeast Texas. Water level fluctuations average 3 feet annually. Aquatic habitat consisted of aquatic vegetation (primarily hydrilla and American lotus) and standing timber.
Historically, the black bass fishery has been the most popular at Toledo Bend Reservoir, accounting for 65 to 85% of annual angling effort. Approximately 10 to 20% of anglers target crappie. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has stocked Florida Largemouth Bass (FLMB) annually since 1990 (except 2006 and 2014) to increase abundance of bass > 8 pounds. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) also stocks FLMB annually. Joint efforts with Louisiana have resulted in standardization of all recreational harvest regulations. In 1998, giant salvinia was discovered in Toledo Bend Reservoir. Cold temperatures during the winter of 2010 and low water levels in 2011 reduced overall coverage to trace amounts. In 2013, plant coverage reached the historic high (9,314 acres) and impeded angler access. In 2015, high inflows that flushed plants from backwater areas, coupled with increased efforts of commercial applicators, resulted in a reduction to 2,068 acres.
- Prey species: Gizzard Shad, Threadfin Shad, and Bluegill were the most abundant prey species and provided ample forage for sport fish.
- Catfishes: Blue Catfish abundance was relatively stable over the last three survey years, and high numbers of fish 12 to 30 inches were available to anglers. Channel Catfish numbers were similar, and the majority of fish were < 12 inches. Catfish angling catch rate averaged 1.3/h. Blue Catfish and Flathead Catfish provided trophy opportunities for anglers.
- Temperate basses: Historically, Striped Bass were periodically stocked by LDWF, but no fish have been collected since 2008. White Bass were present in low numbers. Few anglers target White Bass in the reservoir (< 1% of fishing effort), but during the spawning season (January – March) the fishery is popular in the Sabine River above the reservoir.
- Black basses: Spotted Bass were present in low numbers. Largemouth Bass abundance was relatively high; size structure and fish condition were good. The black bass fishery was most popular (84% of fishing effort). Angling catch rate was high (1.2 /h).
- Crappies: White Crappie and Black Crappie were present in the reservoir. Angling catch (2.2/h) and total harvest (51,898 fish) reflected an abundant crappie population.
- Stock FLMB annually to improve large fish potential.
- Monitor Largemouth Bass population biennially with electrofishing and creel surveys every four years.
- Continue reporting tournament results to monitor large fish abundance.
- Survey giant salvinia coverage annually to monitor effects of control measures.
- Publish monthly articles in the Lakecaster highlighting TPWD activities.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-6 Inland Fisheries Division Monitoring and Management Program