Lake Waxahachie - 2005 Survey Report
Prepared by Richard A. Ott, Jr.,
Ph.D. and Patrick A. Beck
Inland Fisheries Division
District 3-C, Tyler, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 27-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish communities in Lake Waxahachie were surveyed in 2005 using electrofishing and trap nets and in 2006 using gill nets. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Lake Waxahachie is a 553 acre reservoir on Prong Creek (a tributary of the Trinity River), Texas, built to provide water for municipal and industrial purposes. Boat access is adequate, but bank angler access is limited. There are no handicap-specific facilities. The reservoir is mesotrophic (TSI Chl a = 43.39) (TCEQ 2002) and contains a diversity of littoral habitat types. Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata), which was becoming a significant problem in the area around the city water intake structure and swimming beach in the 1998 survey, was rare in 2001 and 2005. However, native submersed species form a beneficial fringe around much of the reservoir. Water levels below conservation pool from 1999 through late 2003 may have limited year-class strength of several species.
Important sport fish include channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), white bass (Morone chrysops), largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), and crappie (Pomoxis sp.). The management plan from the 2001 survey report included: continued monitoring of the largemouth bass population in 2005; coordinaton with TPWD law enforcement to promote angler information and education regarding the slot-limit and encourage additional harvest of sub slot-size fish; stocking of Florida strain largemouth bass (M. s. floridanus) at 100/acre in 2003 and 2004; providing angler information on size limits; and stocking blue catfish fingerlings at 100/acre in 2003 and 2004.
Largemouth bass were managed under a 14-18 inch slot-length limit from 1991-2002 and reverted to the Statewide limit in Sept 2003. Continued monitoring of largemouth bass size distribution and population genetics was conducted as recommended in fall 2005. Promotion of angler harvest of sub slot-sized largemouth bass was discontinued following regulation change. Stocking of Florida strain largemouth bass was not conducted due to changes in stocking philosophy following regulation change. Blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) were stocked in 2003 and 2005.
- Prey species: Threadfin shad (Dorosoma petenense) continued to be present in the reservoir but have declined in abundance. Electrofishing catch of gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum) was low, with few available as prey for most sport fish. Low relative abundance of small shad appears to have limited white bass growth. Electrofishing catch rate of bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) was high, and most were of a size suitable as prey. Redear (L. microlophus) and longear sunfish (L. megalotis) are present and provide a valuable addition to the prey base. Redear, although fewer in number than bluegill, grow large enough to provide a fishery.
- Catfishes: Although gill net catch rate of channel catfish was moderate, size distribution was excellent; approximately 65% of harvestable size. Blue catfish (stocked in 2003 and 2005) were not collected in the present survey.
- Temperate basses: Only white bass were present in the reservoir. Overall gill net catch rate of white bass was lower than in previous surveys and only one year-class (2004) was present. Apparent weak year-classes in previous years may be related to low flow conditions in feeder streams prior to 2004 or to low survival related to prey availability.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass were abundant. Electrofishing catch rate was similar to previous surveys but size structure was still poor. Those collected were thin and in poor body condition. Growth rate was not estimated due to the low catch of suitable sized specimens.
- Crappies: Both white crappie (P. annularis) and black crappie (P. nigromaculatus) were present but white crappie were more abundant. White crappie abundance and body condition continued to be acceptable but size distribution is poor. Most white crappie collected were from the 2004 year class suggesting low year-class strength in previous years. However, growth is adequate, with crappie reaching legal length by age 1.
- Stock blue catfish at 100/acre in 2005 and 2006; re-evaluate success of blue catfish stockings during routine gill netting in 2010.
- Make greater effort to provide regulation posters to the controlling authority for distribution to area businesses.
- Continue monitoring size distribution and genetic composition of largemouth bass during routine electrofishing in 2009.
- Coordinate with the controlling authority (City of Waxahachie) to monitor the hydrilla as needed.
- Conduct a quantitative assessment of the aquatic plant community during routine habitat survey in 2009.
- A spring quarter creel survey is scheduled for 2007.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-30-R-31 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program