Lady Bird Lake - 2015 Survey Report
Prepared by Mukhtar Farooqi and Marcos J. De Jesus
Inland Fisheries Division – San Marcos/Austin District
This is the authors' summary from a 31-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Lady Bird Reservoir were surveyed in 2015 using electrofishing. Historical data are presented with the 2015 data for comparison. This report summarizes results of the survey and contains a fisheries management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lady Bird Reservoir is a stable-level, 469-acre impoundment of the Colorado River located in the city of Austin, Travis County, Texas. Prior to 2007 the reservoir was named Town Lake. The reservoir runs through the mid-section of the city and was constructed in 1960 for purposes of flood control, municipal and industrial water supply, and recreation. The reservoir is owned and operated by the City of Austin. The reservoir lies within the Edwards Plateau ecological area and has shoreline length of 18.3 miles and a drainage area of approximately 38,240 square miles. Some of the adjacent land has been developed into city parks. Other shoreline areas have been developed by private businesses.
Important sportfish included Largemouth Bass and Common Carp. Largemouth Bass were managed under a 14-inch minimum length limit until September 1, 2000, when a 14- to 21-inch slot length limit was initiated. Prior to this more restrictive length limit, harvest may have been limited due to an imposed fish consumption advisory. Florida Largemouth Bass were initially stocked in 1998 to improve Largemouth Bass growth potential.
Lady Bird Reservoir is a popular destination for trophy Common Carp anglers from around the country and from overseas because of the opportunity to catch 30- to 40-plus-pound carp. The reservoir holds the rod and reel state record for Common Carp at 43.75 pounds. In 2009, a harvest restriction was implemented to protect trophy-sized Common Carp; only one carp 33 inches or greater may be retained per day.
This reservoir holds the state record (rod and reel) for nine species of fish, which is more than any other public water body in the State. Prior to 2012, low vegetative coverage has been descriptive of Lady Bird Reservoir.
- Prey species: Bluegill, Gizzard Shad, Redbreast Sunfish, and Threadfin Shad were the predominant prey species. Catch rates had increased since the previous survey.
- Common Carp: The data indicates that Lady Bird Reservoir had a low density carp population dominated by larger individuals and the fishery was performing well.
- Largemouth Bass: Largemouth Bass were abundant, in good condition, and displayed adequate growth. Population size structure was good.
- Based on current information, the reservoir should continue to be managed with existing regulations.
- Aquatic vegetation surveys should be conducted annually to monitor for the potential establishment of the non-native species hydrilla, and for changes to the aquatic vegetation community that could be attributed to the emigration of Grass Carp from upstream Austin Reservoir.
- Continue collection of information on Grass Carp and Common Carp populations in collaboration with the Carp Anglers Group.
- Inform the public about the negative impacts of aquatic invasive species.
- Conduct a standard electrofishing survey in 2019 and an additional survey in 2017.
- Access and habitat surveys will be conducted in 2019.
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