Weatherford Reservoir - 2011 Survey Report
Prepared by John H. Moczygemba and Bruce Hysmith
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-A, Pottsboro, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 22-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Weatherford Reservoir were surveyed in 2011 using an electrofisher and trap nets and in 2012 using gill nets. Habitat was surveyed in 2011. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a management plan for the reservoir based on those findings.
Weatherford Reservoir is a 1,158-acre impoundment on the Clear Fork Trinity River in Parker County. Water level was below conservation elevation (896 ft-msl) for most of the period between May 2008 and April 2012. Extremely rich reservoir waters were probably enhanced by runoff from domestic habitation in the watershed. Habitat features consisted mainly of bulkhead and rocky and natural shoreline.
Important sport fish included channel catfish, white bass, largemouth bass, and white crappie. The management plan for the 2008 survey report included a recommendation to encourage the City of Weatherford to construct access and facilities compliant with the American Disabilities Act, and update the web page on the TPWD web site. Approximately 15,000 paradise bass were stocked in 1977; 2,790 adult threadfin shad in 1981 and 1984; 4.9 million walleye fry 1982–1984; and 346,329 Florida largemouth bass fingerlings in 1988, 1991, and 1997. In 1990, 1,101 triploid grass carp were stocked.
- Prey species: Electrofishing catch rate of gizzard shad was high, but lower than some historical catches. The relative abundance of prey-size gizzard shad (≤7-inches) was high. This was indicative of high nutrient levels in the reservoir. Moderate electrofishing catch rates of bluegill and the highest catch rate of threadfin shad since 1986 indicated the prey base was more than adequate.
- Channel catfish: Gill net catch rate of channel catfish dropped back to 2004 levels. Recruitment was evident and 40% of the sample population was legal size and larger. Growth was slow, but channel catfish were in very good condition.
- Temperate basses: Gill net catch rate of white bass has steadily declined over the past four surveys from a high in 1996. This year no white bass were collected for the first time since they were first observed in 1993. Never before collected, yellow bass were observed during trap and gill netting surveys. They probably came through the water transfer line from Lake Benbrook.
- Largemouth bass: Electrofishing catch rate of largemouth bass declined from previous surveys. Recruitment to the higher inch classes was evident indicating an improvement in the largemouth bass size structure. Largemouth bass were in great condition. Growth was average; 14 inches in 2 years for some of the sampled fish.
- White crappie: Trap net catch rate of white crappie was high as in 2007 and overall body condition was great. They grew to 10 inches in two years and 57% of the sample population was 10 inches and larger.
Based on current information, Weatherford Reservoir should continue to be managed with existing fish harvest regulations. The improvements in the largemouth bass population should be communicated to constituents via TPWD social media and news releases. The public boat ramp should be improved to allow better access during low water conditions. Inform the City of Weatherford about new exotic species threats to Texas waters, and work with them to display appropriate signage, educate constituents, and understand appropriate enforcement actions.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-2 Statewide Freshwater Fisheries Monitoring and Management Program