Lake Travis - 2014 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 36-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Travis Reservoir were surveyed in 2014 using electrofishing and in 2015 using gill netting. Historical data are presented with the 2014-2015 data for comparison. This report summarizes results of the surveys and contains a fisheries management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Travis Reservoir is an 18,622-acre impoundment of the Colorado River located in Travis and Burnet Counties, approximately 12 miles northwest of Austin, Texas. It was constructed in 1942 by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) for purposes of flood control, municipal and industrial water supplies, irrigation, and hydroelectric power. Travis Reservoir has a shoreline development index of 18.3. The basin is steep-sided with relatively few shallow coves and shoal areas. This reservoir experiences extreme water level fluctuations and lies within the Edwards Plateau ecological area. Land use is predominantly ranching in the upper reservoir, with residential properties common in the lower reservoir. Significant stands of aquatic vegetation have never been documented in the reservoir.
Important sport fish include White Bass, Striped Bass, Largemouth Bass, and catfish species. Florida Largemouth Bass were originally stocked in the reservoir in the late 1980’s to increase Florida Largemouth Bass genetic influence in the population. Blue and Channel Catfish were stocked in the 1970’s to help establish a sustainable population. White Bass were managed under an experimental 12-inch minimum length limit from 1995 to 2003. The regulation was rescinded after analysis indicated environmental factors, not angler harvest, were probably more influential in determining White Bass population density.
- Prey species: Threadfin Shad, Gizzard Shad, Bluegill, and Redbreast Sunfish were the predominant prey species. Overall, the forage base was adequate to support sport fish.
- Catfishes: Flathead Catfish and Blue Catfish were the predominant species of catfish surveyed in 2015. Large Flathead Catfish and Blue Catfish were available to anglers. Channel Catfish were also present in lower densities.
- Temperate basses: White Bass abundance decreased since the previous two surveys; body condition for most fish was low. White Bass growth to harvestable size was average for this species. Striped Bass abundance improved since the previous two surveys. Abundance of harvestable-size fish increased.
- Black basses: Largemouth Bass abundance in 2015 was low; growth and body condition were adequate. Low lake levels in recent years may have decreased recruitment of this species. Guadalupe Bass were present.
- Based on current information, the reservoir should continue to be managed with existing regulations.
- Subject to availability, Striped Bass should continue to be stocked to maintain the fishery.
- Florida Largemouth Bass should be stocked when water levels are favorable for stocking since this reservoir is known to produce trophy fish (>8 lbs.).
- Conduct an additional gill net survey in 2017, and general monitoring surveys with gill nets and electrofishing surveys in 2018-2019.
- A yearlong creel survey will be conducted in 2016 to collect data on the Striped Bass fishery and determine future stocking strategies.
- Access, structural, and vegetation surveys will be conducted in 2018/2019.
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