Walter E. Long Reservoir - 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 31-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Walter E. Long 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.
Walter E. Long Reservoir is a 1,269-acre impoundment of Decker Creek, a tributary of the Colorado River, and is located east of Austin, Travis County, Texas. The dam was constructed in 1967 for supplying water to a power plant operated by the City of Austin. The reservoir has a drainage area of 9.3 square miles, a shoreline length of 16 miles, and a shoreline development index of 3.3. The reservoir lies within the blackland prairies ecological region.
Important sport fish included Largemouth Bass, Hybrid Striped Bass (Palmetto Bass and Sunshine Bass), catfish species and White Bass. Palmetto Bass were stocked from 2007-2010 at a reduced rate of 5/acre to evaluate density-dependent growth and condition of the predatory fish population. Sunshine Bass were first stocked in 2014 in addition to Palmetto Bass and separately in 2015. Largemouth Bass have been managed since 1993 with a 14- to 21-inch slot-length limit. An analysis of that length limit change suggested it had been successful in increasing density and angler catch rate of bass greater than 14 inches in length. Angler harvest of sub-slot bass was not sufficient to improve growth under the slot-length limit. Florida Largemouth Bass were last stocked in 1995. Aquatic vegetation habitat surveys have been conducted annually to monitor invasive species and evaluate angler access conditions.
Angler catch rate for bank anglers at the city park was poor, although fishing effort was high. Submerged aquatic vegetation along the city park shoreline decreased bank angling efficiency and angler success. Boat angler catch rate was good.
- Prey species: Threadfin Shad, Redbreast Sunfish, Bluegill, and Redear Sunfish were the predominant prey species. Gizzard Shad were present, but the IOV was zero. Catch rates of Redbreast Sunfish, Bluegill, Redear Sunfish, and Gizzard Shad declined.
- Catfishes: Channel Catfish were the dominant catfish species present; abundance, size and body condition were good. Flathead Catfish were present in low density.
- Temperate basses: Hybrid Striped Bass and White Bass were present in the reservoir. White Bass abundance decreased during the last two surveys. In 2015, only one fish was caught. The gill netting catch rate of Hybrid Striped Bass in 2015 was higher than in previous two surveys. Legal-size (≥ 18 inches) Hybrid Striped Bass were present.
- Largemouth Bass: Largemouth Bass were abundant and displayed adequate growth and body condition. Fish above the slot limit (≥ 21 inches) were present as well.
Based on current information, the reservoir should continue to be managed with existing regulations. Subject to availability, Hybrid Striped Bass (Palmetto Bass and/or Sunshine Bass) should continue to be stocked at 5/acre for fingerlings. Conduct additional electrofishing and gill netting surveys in 2016-2017, and general monitoring surveys with gill nets and electrofishing surveys in 2018-2019. Aquatic vegetation surveys should be conducted annually to monitor invasive species.
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