Toledo Bend Reservoir - 2005 Survey Report
Prepared by Todd Driscoll and Dan Ashe
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-D, Jasper, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 36-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 2005-2006 using electrofishing and gill nets. Anglers were surveyed from June 2005 -May 2006 with a creel. This report summarizes results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Toledo Bend Reservoir is a 162,476-acre (71,000 acres in Texas) impoundment of the Sabine River in Newton, Sabine, and Shelby counties in southeast Texas. Water level fluctuations average 5 feet annually, but water levels reached historic lows in 2001 and 2005. Aquatic habitat consisted of submerged vegetation and standing timber.
Creel surveys indicated that largemouth bass and crappie fisheries were most popular at Toledo Bend Reservoir. Florida largemouth bass have been stocked annually since 1988 in an effort to obtain > 20% pure Florida largemouth bass in the population. Since 1987, joint efforts with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) have resulted in standardization of most harvest regulations, but differences still exist for crappie and catfish. In 1998, giant salvinia was discovered in Toledo Bend Reservoir. Eradication efforts on both Texas and Louisiana sides of the reservoir were unsuccessful. In 2004, plant coverage exceeded 3,000 acres and impeded angler access. Low water levels in 2005 reduced coverage to 281 acres. Control methods have included annual herbicide treatments at access points, releases of salvinia weevils, and a water level drawdown.
- Prey species: Gizzard shad, threadfin shad, and bluegill were the most abundant prey species in the reservoir. Electrofishing surveys indicated these species provided ample forage.
- Catfishes: Abundance of blue and channel catfish were stable compared to previous years, providing anglers with good fishing success. Average angler catch rates were 1.8 fish/h. Flathead catfish were present in the reservoir.
- Temperate basses: White and striped bass were present in the reservoir in low numbers. However, a popular white bass fishery exists in the Sabine River above the reservoir. Yellow bass numbers were high in the reservoir, as angler catch rate averaged 7.85 fish/h and annual harvest exceeded 67,000 fish.
- Black basses: Spotted bass were present in low numbers. Largemouth bass were relatively abundant, and size structure and fish condition was good. The largemouth bass fishery was most popular (67.4% of anglers targeted bass). Angler catch rates were high, averaging 0.78/hour.
- Crappie: White and black crappie were present in the reservoir. Angler catch (1.9/hour) and harvest rates (1.1/hour) reflect an abundant crappie population. Annual harvest exceeded 185,000 fish (76% black crappie).
- Stock Florida largemouth bass annually to maintain and improve trophy fish numbers.
- Monitor largemouth bass population annually with electrofishing (both spring and fall) and creel surveys.
- Continue tournament-monitoring program to more effectively monitor catches of larger fish.
- Continue discussions with LDWF to standardize harvest regulations for catfish and crappies.
- Monitor giant salvinia coverage annually to document plant distribution and effects of control measures.
- Monitor the crappie fishery with annual creel surveys.
- Monitor the catfish population with gill nets every other year.
- Continue to publish monthly articles in the Lakecaster highlighting departmental activities.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-31 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program