Waco Reservoir - 2015 Survey Report
Prepared by John E. Tibbs and Michael S. Baird
Inland Fisheries Division – Waco 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 Waco Reservoir were surveyed in 2015 using electrofishing and in 2016 using trap nets and gill nets. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Waco Reservoir is an 8,465-acre impoundment supplied by the North, Middle, and South Bosque Rivers within the Brazos River Basin, McLennan County. Water levels were above conservation pool (462 feet above mean sea level [MSL]) during 2015 electrofishing and 2016 trap net surveys and at conservation pool during 2016 gill net surveys. Fish habitat at the time of sampling was dominated by natural, rock, and gravel shorelines. Bank and boat access (12 ramps) to the reservoir is abundant.
Important sport fish include Largemouth Bass, White Bass, palmetto bass, White Crappie, and catfishes. The management plan from the 2012 survey report included annual monitoring of noxious vegetation; enhancing aquatic habitat using native vegetation; investigating alternative funding sources for habitat enhancement; enhanced monitoring of the palmetto bass population; stocking Florida Largemouth Bass fingerlings in 2013 and 2015; and addressing invasive aquatic species threats to Waco Reservoir.
- Prey species: All major forage species were collected at rates above their historical average. Most Gizzard Shad were a suitable prey size and available to predators.
- Catfishes: Blue and Channel Catfish were present in ample numbers, and individuals of both species were in good to excellent condition. Flathead Catfish were not collected.
- Temperate bass: White Bass were sampled at historically high rates over the previous three surveys. Palmetto bass catch rates continued to increase to a historic high in 2016.
- Largemouth Bass: Largemouth Bass catch rate improved since previous surveys and was higher than the average. Body condition was excellent, and the proportion of Florida alleles was greater than prior surveys.
- Crappies: White Crappie were collected at a rate similar to the historical average. Black Crappie were collected at an historic high catch rate.
- Continue managing Waco Reservoir’s fisheries, except Blue Catfish, with statewide regulations.
- Conduct electrofishing and trap netting in 2019 and gill netting in 2018 and 2020.
- Discontinue annual monitoring for hydrilla. Continue native aquatic plant enhancement efforts.
- Evaluate hybrid Striped Bass fry versus fingerling recruitment increasing sampling effort to collect age structures.
- Support partners’ efforts to prevent the spread of zebra mussels to or from Waco Reservoir.
- Work closely with the Friends of Lake Waco chapter to identify angler needs and facilitate action.
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