Lake Travis - 2010 Survey Report
Prepared by Stephan J. Magnelia and Marcos J. De Jesus
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-C, San Marcos, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 34-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Travis Reservoir were surveyed in 2010 using electrofishing and in 2011 using gill nets. This report summarizes the 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. The management plans from 2007 were to continue stocking striped bass; and to stock Florida largemouth bass in spring 2008 if the reservoir water level elevation was above 670 msl. The Florida subspecies of largemouth bass was 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 The regulation was rescinded after analysis indicated environmental factors, not angler harvest, were probably more influential in determining white bass population density.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: Gizzard shad, bluegill and redbreast sunfish were the predominant forage species. Threadfin shad were also present.
- Catfishes: Blue catfish was the dominant species present. Large blue catfish are available for anglers. Channel and flathead catfish were also present in lower densities. A previous fall creel survey indicated directed effort towards catfish species was low.
- Temperate basses: White bass abundance improved in 2011. This may be the result of a strong year class produced in 2010 when the reservoir re-filled after extremely low water levels in 2008 and 2009. Only one striped bass was caught in the 2011 gill net survey. Previous surveys in 2007 and 2008 indicated higher abundance.
- Black basses: Largemouth bass were abundant, although total electrofishing catch rate and catch rate of individuals over 14 inches was lower than previous surveys. Low lake levels in 2008 and 2009 may have decreased recruitment of this species. Largemouth bass growth in 2011 was similar to previous surveys. Guadalupe bass were present.
The reservoir should continue to be managed with existing fishing regulations. Routine gill netting and electrofishing surveys should be conducted in 2014–2015. An additional gill net survey should be conducted in spring 2013 to monitor striped bass abundance. Striped bass should continue to be stocked in efforts to maintain the fishery. A creel survey should be conducted in 2014 to evaluate angler utilization/exploitation of the striped bass fishery. The survey should include angler attitude and opinion questions regarding angler utilization of the striped bass fishery, as this species may be primarily caught by anglers targeting other species. Results of that survey should be used to justify future stockings. Florida largemouth bass should be stocked when water levels are favorable for stocking. Largemouth bass fishing tournament results indicate average “big bass” weights exceed 8 pounds and justify additional stockings of this species to maintain or improve maximum size.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-1 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program